Hilary Harnischfeger Exhibition

Rachel Uffner Gallery

poster for Hilary Harnischfeger Exhibition

This event has ended.

Rachel Uffner Gallery presents a show of new works by Hilary Harnischfeger. For her second solo show in the gallery, Harnischfeger will exhibit wall-mounted compositions as well as sculptures. In her wall-based abstractions, the artist employs varied materials such as paper, plaster, clay, ink and chunks of rock and quartz to create tactilely seductive pieces that straddle the line between two- and three-dimensionality. In her freestanding sculptures, also on show, the artist continues to mine the meeting point between abstraction and materiality, chiefly using clay to lend her objects a fleshy, corporeal quality.

Ohio, where Harnischfeger has been living and working over the past year, was a vital early 20th century hub for the American ceramics industry, thanks to the area’s natural clay reserves. Influenced by this landscape and the manufacturing it gave rise to, Harnischfeger recently began working with clay, combining it with plaster, paper and minerals to create freestanding sculptures that hover on the cusp of serviceable everyday objects (vases, ashtrays, pots) and odd, monstrous creatures. Their lumpy shapes, ugly/beautiful sensibility and focus on the grafting of bodies and things draw on varied influences, such as ritualistic "Haniwa" terracotta figures, Eva Hesse’s eccentric abstractions and Rosemarie Trockel’s defamiliarized ceramics. The artist’s mixing of dyed clay, based on the Japanese method of Neriage, ensures that unlike traditional ceramics that are tinted and glazed only on their surface, these pieces are instead wholly infused with vibrant color.

Harnischfeger’s wall-mounted works, in which she paints, builds up and carves out layers of paper and plaster to a deliberate but rough-hewn effect, or shapes hunks of clay and plaster into freeform objects, resemble fantastical topographical maps, odd geological formations, or fragmented, expressive portraits. In their physical resistance to a standard rectangular 2D framework – a refusal reminiscent of the work of artists ranging from Bontecou to Stella – these compositions almost seem poised to jump off the wall, ready to assert their solid autonomy.

[Image: Hilary Harnischfeger "Hocking Hill" (2011) Paper, plaster, clay, tourmaline 27 x 23 x 5 in.]



from May 06, 2011 to June 19, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 13:00: On the occasion of her solo exhibition, artist Hilary Harnischfeger will have a public conversation with art historian and writer Suzanne Hudson.

Opening Reception on 2011-05-08 from 18:00 to 20:00

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