Tom Hardy:
Sculpture & Drawings

Mark Woolley Gallery, Portland
March 30 - May 1

Tom Hardy, Maple Dance (1998)
Tom Hardy, Maple Dance (1998),
welded bronze

Tom Hardy, one of the most revered and enviably accessible sculptors of the Northwest, draws in steel and bronze with a welding torch, as well as turning out a strong, brushed line on paper. In a professional career of more than fifty years, he has mastered the nuances of fine rendering and startling effects through the direct handling of metallic mediums &emdash; resulting in a kind of precise detailing which is ordinarily expected only from casting.

Hardy's favoured subjects are animals in their natural surroundings and behaviour, which he has never tired of observing since his bookish childhood on a Willamette Valley "stump farm." His sculpture is more, however, than realistic representation of these beings. The interpretation of his subjects moving in three-dimensional space affords the opportunity for an open melding of mass and void, and the plausible introduction of abstraction. Hardy's work is often visually kinetic without being moved about, even when it is presented as bas relief. Even his plant forms snap, crackle and pop, as if they were very much alive.

Public commissions by Tom Hardy are to be found in most of the large western cities of the U.S., as is his work in the major museum collections. This present exhibition is an opportunity to see the relationship of drawing and direct welding by a master artist/craftsman.

© Ted Lindberg