Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dave Hardy: A House With Gates, Regina Rex

Regina Rex continues to mount substantial exhibits, now with Hardy’s imposing and confrontational sculptures that contain a vulnerable fragility within their stern authority.

The intense materiality and implicit didactic recalls Beuys use of native objects embedded with a personal mythology.
Thick, industrial-grade sheets of glass, which afford a sensation of weight, delicacy of tint, and tenuous balance, emphasize an architectural profile. The sheering planes of glass, which act to somewhat break up the formal rigor, viciously crush slabs of foam encrusted in a concrete slurry. The solid looking mass portrayed by these chunks of foam play a crafty, tromp de l’oeil sleight of hand; they might be seen as actual poured, solid concrete made to look like foam.

But all the technical prowess, hard edges, and macho strutting here are coupled with a graceful, yet precarious instability that could be toppled at any moment. The tension posed between structural formidability and figurative sensitivity, lend these sculptures an invigorating dichotomy.
The wall hangings loosened sensibility fluctuate between airy, rough-hewn tapestry, and a reluctant nod to casualist painting. They employ a satisfying shmear of dilute pigment mixed with what I’d guess is the concoction used to coat the foam. The raw looking canvasses are mounted on metal brackets that protrude into the room, engaging in a dimensional dialogue with the sculptural forms.
Hardy’s work bridges a serious and brooding notion with transparent lucidity. Lightness may not be his thing, however the gravity of the work is somehow uplifting.

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