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|The FLAG Art Foundation presents two solo exhibitions: "Tom Molloy, Issue" and "Hilary Harkness"|
Hilary Harkness, Fully Committed, Mighty Mo, April 11, 1945, 2007-2008. Oil/ Linen, 36 x 48 inches. Courtesy the artist and Mary Boone Gallery, New York.
NEW YORK, NY.- Issue is the first solo exhibition in New York of Irish artist Tom Molloy which examines power, explores the ways in which it has been perverted, and asks global questions about morality. An enthusiastic collector of images, and working through drawing, collage, photography and sculpture, Molloy challenges perceptions by creating ambiguous works, and investigating the overlap between representation and association. His deliberately minimal representations of significant political and historical moments are both subtle and highly charged.
Issue examines the veracity of photography through the elective and selective nature of images. These have been ruptured: either through editing, cropping, transference into another medium, or in their presentation in a non-linear chronology breaking their historical precedent. The idea of photography as an arbiter; the interface between image making and historical fact, is the principal focus of this exhibition.
The nine works featured in Issue address dominant themes of history and photography - illustrating several momentous Twentieth Century events, and exploring the subsequent implications for contemporary society. Tom Molloys work, interrogates the communication and perception of truth, and different possibilities that could, and have arisen globally as a consequence of mans inhumanity to man.
Tom Molloy who exhibits with Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Texas and Rubicon Gallery, Dublin was born in Ireland and works in Paris, France. He attended the National College of Art & Design Dublin. In addition to participating in several group exhibitions in 2005 a survey exhibition of his work was held at the Limerick City Gallery of Art and in 2008 at the Solstice Arts Centre, County Meath. In 2010 Molloy had a major exhibition at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in USA and is included in the permanent collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art; The Blanton Museum of Art, Texas; The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Dublin; The Zabludowicz Collection, London; Fondazione Spinola Banna Per LArte, Turin; FRAC-Piemonte; FRAC Haute-Normandie and Princeton University Art. Recently Tom has been featured in the 10th edition of the Sharjah Biennial, "Plot for a Biennial"; Art² at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York; "The Jerusalem Show" Al Ma'mal Foundation, Jerusalem and NEWTOPIA - The state of Human Rights in Belgium.
Best known for her impossibly-detailed paintings of a world inhabited only by women, Hilary Harkness is most obsessed with abuses of power, which she presents on an intimate, yet grand, scale. Sex, war, reproduction, class systems, free markets, manifest destiny, and scientific experimentation all play out in an uncensored stage -- yet are still tethered to historical moments and real world settings.
Spanning from 2000 - 2011, Harkness cross-section paintings occupy a special place in her oeuvre and operate on many levels. Not only are the architectural cutaways a formal device that give her storytelling some level of veracity and structure, they also help heighten the psychological states of her characters and catalyze their complicated narratives.
In Harkness classic military paintings, there are steely panopticons of surveillance and control, where hierarchies are underscored by the regimented bunks, cells, mess halls, machine rooms. But unlike the low-ranking minions swabbing the decks, the viewer has full access into restricted, dont-ask-dont-tell areas, where law and order may not exist.
Real WWII battleships in paintings like Mighty Mo: Fully Committed contrast workaday military duties with embellished bacchanalia; Heavy Cruisers portrays a ship as a hothouse womb, rife with pregnant officers and even a pregnant whale. Red Sky in the Morning imagines the suicide mission of the Japanese battleship Yamato, and wonders: when faced with extreme extenuating circumstances such as war, can anyone possibly behave appropriately?
In other paintings, the viewers eyes are allowed to trip around the painting like Eloise at The Plaza, weaving in and out of chateaus, chalets, and auction houses. Nervous in the Service gives us a Godseye view of a slapstick decadent cocktail party. Two paintings of Christies at Rockefeller Center propose that the embryo trade would supplant the sales of luxury goods in a world led by armies of women. The opulent surroundings with priceless antiques and artworks are often a counterpoint to the atrocities occurring within.
These cross-sections, which present Harkness macro and micro views of history -- both visually and emotionally -- are all linked by her attempt to portray public triumphs and personal weaknesses in an irrational world.
Hilary Harkness, who exhibits with the Mary Boone Gallery in New York City, is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale University School of Art. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain, and the Deste Foundation in Athens, Greece and is in the collection of the Whitney Museum. She has taught painting and sculpture as Artist in Residence at Yale Summer School of Art and Music, and lectured widely at institutions.
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