The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art opens an exhibition of etchings by Helen Hardin
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The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art opens an exhibition of etchings by Helen Hardin
Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings is on display from December 21, 2019 through March 1, 2020.

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.- The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art presents Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings. This is the museum’s first major exhibition that highlights artworks by a female artist. The exhibition enhances understanding of Hardin’s modern, stylized versions of traditional pueblo imagery as she rose to fame in the 1970s in a male-dominated art world. The show is supplemented with art by other women with ties to Santa Clara Pueblo, including Hardin’s mother Pablita Velarde, Hardin’s daughter Margarete Bagshaw, potter SeraFina Tafoya, and sculptor Tammy Garcia.

Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings is on display from December 21, 2019 through March 1, 2020.

Helen Hardin (1943 – 1984) was the daughter of artist Pablita Velarde (1918 – 2006) from the Santa Clara Pueblo near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Unlike her mother, who painted scenes of traditional Pueblo life, Hardin chose to interpret images of ancient pottery and rock art designs into contemporary, abstracted, highly individualized compositions. With the use of repeated geometric forms and layering techniques, viewers obtain a sense of introspect into a woman artist whose work is divided between traditional and modern worlds. Through her groundbreaking career, Hardin created avenues for other Native women to break from traditionalism.

This exhibition explores copper plate etching, a medium where a metal plate is acid-etched with an image, then the plate is inked to produce a set number of prints. Practiced by artists since the late 15th century, etching has evolved to be an important form of artistic expression. The exact processes and precise techniques of copper plate etching were fitting for the labor-intensive, detailed compositions created by Hardin.

This exhibition also includes three etchings known as her “Woman Series,” suggesting an autobiography of her last three years. Hardin was completing “Medicine Woman” when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She said, “It was almost as if I needed that person, that healing spirit.” In 1984 Hardin stated, “’Listening Woman’ is the woman I am only becoming now. She’s the speaker, she’s the person who’s more objective, the listener and the compassionate person.” She passed away months later at the age of 41. She was at the height of her career.

Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings is on loan to The James Museum and is organized by Helen Hardin #1’s LLC – a Nevada Corporation.

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