“I believe it is my responsibility as an artist to work to communicate the incommunicable…” – Elizabeth Hardy
The Community Foundation of Louisville, in partnership with Louisville Visual Art, has presented Louisville-based sculptor and designer, Elizabeth Hardy, with the first annual Bill Fischer Prize for Visual Art.
On her website, Hardy includes this declaration: “Elizabeth works to curate & cultivate aesthetically keen experiences across visual disciplines, inviting viewers to indulge in romantic collaborations with the natural world.” It points to a broader embrace of art and design in various contexts, and the rest of her site vividly illustrates the point, showing the artist’s work in many commercial channels. The lines of demarcation between art and design, fine art and commercial work, are forever shifting, as artists like Hardy navigate the overlap of creative spaces in the culture.
Yet the Fischer Prize recognizes the “fine art” produced by Hardy, and however slick and professional the images online may be, she is also immersed in the hard, knuckle-breaking work of carving stone and constructing mixed media sculpture, working in a modest room during winter – in the warmer climate she moves her carving outside, under a tent.
Since earning her BFA in 2012, Hardy has traveled for residencies in stone carving:
2015 - Carving Studio & Sculpture Center in Rutland, Vermont.
2016 - Green Olive Artist Residency in Tetouan, Morocco.
- Carving Studio & Sculpture Center in Rutland, Vermont.
2017 - Tuscany Study Stone Sculpture Workshops at Corsanini Studio in Carrara, Italy.
Her installations and soft material sculptures combine contrasting sensibilities, the communication through three-dimensional form and space with the polish and craftsmanship of a commercial designer. Hardy explains: “I am interested in producing work that honors the legacy of classic sculptural techniques which stand the test of time, married with a contemporary, experimental style that defies convention.”
“My work seeks to stir nostalgia for the primordial past and sublime in nature, via
romantic collaborations with the natural world. Whether through carving marble (a material consisting of interlocking crystals made by generations of petrified
tiny creatures slowly compressed by gravity at the bottom of a primordial sea), or
through growing crystals as surface treatment, the role of natural phenomena as
process is consistently present in sculptural works and installations. Beyond my
attraction to such processes that emphasize time passage - translating
ephemeral makings into enduring works that can speak to our past and present
for years to come.”
Hardy plans to use her prize money, "to provide a suitable environment with tools to establish a space to be able to create works on a larger scale than I am physically capable of doing with the restrictions of my current studio space. I could expand my practice for my own productions as well as have a proper venue to function as a learning environment that I could share the techniques I have learned with others."
The Bill Fischer Award for Visual Artists is a $5,000 cash prize designed to make a meaningful impact on the career of a visual artist residing in the Louisville Metro Area by providing support in the form of grants for the execution and exhibition of artwork and other efforts to foster a professional career as a visual artist. Recipients of the Fischer Prize must show a commitment to experimentation and the creative use of materials and techniques, and a commitment to pursuing a career as a professional working visual artist.
The Award is funded by the Artist Bill Fischer Foundation for Working Artists at the Community Foundation of Louisville. Louisville Visual Art serves as the administrative partner to the project and competition process.
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.