Artist of the Week: Dave Hardy
Who: Dave Hardy
Where he was born: Sharon, Connecticut
Where he lives now: Brooklyn, NY
What are you currently working on?
I just finished installing 2 concurrent projects in Manhattan: a solo show called “The Hairy Hand” at Churner and Churner in Chelsea and a three-part floor to ceiling piece for the inaugural exhibition at Regina Rex’s brand new space in Chinatown. Now I’m trying to relax for a minute.
What are your motivations to work with foam?
Hmm. My mom would say it because of the big yellow foam mattress that I used to sneak into Holiday Inns. I grew up around art – my parents make a living at outdoor art fairs. Every winter we’d drive to Florida, spending weekends selling etchings in some town I hadn’t been to since the year before. Sometimes we brought the cats. And on the van drives down I-95, we had the nightly ritual of sneaking the pets and foam mattresses into the motel.
But somehow, though, I don’t really think that’s it.
I really think I’m motivated to use work with foam by the suppleness of the material, how it can feel like a body, especially when it’s cleaved by a piece of glass or poked with a pretzel.
What is there too much and too little of?
Your work often puts opaque and transparent surfaces in conversation with each other. What kind of visibility do you aim for?
I like the idea of making work that you can hear. A friend said to me that walking into a room with these sculptures, he could hear a high pitched whine, which was just a synesthetic description of the feeling they gave him. The things carry a feeling of anxiety and precarity, like their component parts are under such strain that they might just give in and collapse. The way things push up against each other, they support each other in bewildering ways. I set up these relationships that don’t seem like they should work – but then they do – in the most tenuous, perplexing way.
Who most directly inspired your artistic pursuits?
My dad. Both my parents, really, but my dad has been doing this thing all my life, where he digs and upends these huge rocks on his property. He’s 76, and he’s an artist and has a flower farm – and when his shovel his a rock in the ground, he digs a huge hole around the rock. And then using different bottle jacks and levers, he raises these 15 ton boulders out of the ground by hand. It’s incredibly slow, and he doesn’t do it for anyone else, he just want’s to see them and feel their presence. It’s amazing to me, how real it is, and how solitary it is, and how important.
What’s your next challenge?
I’m going to Berlin for a show at Wentrup Gallery in November, and I’m going to show work that I don’t understand yet. Yikes. I’ve never been there, and I’m very excited, but I’m still in denial.
And your WILD Wish?
For a year away, with just Abbey and Monty.