Critics’ Picks

Anne Hardy, Area of Overlap, 2018, video, color, sound, 7 minutes 21 seconds.


Anne Hardy

Maureen Paley
21 Herald Street
April 10–May 20

Anne Hardy’s works are richly sensorial: soft, comforting structures that envelop you, holding you close as they almost paradoxically streamline your senses. In the artist’s own special lexicon, these all-encompassing environments are “FIELD works.” The artist characterizes a FIELD as “a landscape; an area of interest; a site that contains you; a physical manifestation of a psychological space.”

The gallery’s immersive cinema, built to house the debut of Hardy’s new film Area of Overlap, 2018—made on hazy, haptic 16-mm film and transferred to a digital projection—is a plush, magenta room with bouncy orange cushions. Each handmade cushion is shaped differently; they call to mind illustrations of platelets from a science textbook. The installation contains a plywood bench as well. Its perfectly circular, laser-cut hole and disorienting tilt are akin to the aesthetic of the set we see on the screen, as are the lamps made from lumpy poured concrete, twisted cable ties, hand-blown glass (Lamp Post, 2017), and the blackboard depicting undulating spirals with leafy foliage, all in white chalk with thumbtacks scattered about (Threshold, 2018). The world of the film and the gallery environment merge, becoming parallel spaces—the screen is a window into a precarious dimension. There are no hard edges; pastel-pink paper backgrounds unfurl across the room. The lights flicker. A fan blows a makeshift tape curtain. We hear the pouring rain, the wind echoing, birds squawking, along with the sound of crushed cans, silver whipped-cream canisters, and boules rattling back and forth across an uneven floor.

Upstairs is Flutter, 2018, a photograph on vinyl attached to a freestanding wooden board. It stands alone and feels like part of a makeshift stage set. Similar objects are spotted here, such as nebulous glass shapes, breeze blocks, strips of tape, and large speakers. We have stepped through Hardy’s looking glass, a translated version of the world downstairs, a copy of a copy of a copy.