Gladstone Gallery opens an exhibition of new works by Sharon Lockhart

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Gladstone Gallery opens an exhibition of new works by Sharon Lockhart
Installation view, Sharon Lockhart, at Gladstone Gallery, 2022 © Sharon Lockhart. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery. Photography by Daniel Greer.

NEW YORK, NY.- Gladstone Gallery is presenting new works by Sharon Lockhart. This expansive, ambitious exhibition includes a new film installation, photography, paintings, and sculpture. Celebrated for her work in film and photography, Lockhart has for the past few years investigated mediums that translate her longstanding interest/devotion to form, concept, and structure into objects such as cast bronze sculpture, paintings, and neon.

The exhibition’s centerpiece is Lockhart’s film EVENTIDE. Shot in Gotland, Sweden, EVENTIDE is a 30-minute single take filmed as dusk turned to night during the annual Perseid meteor shower. From its stationary position, the camera records the slow entrance and exit of several figures exploring the rocky shore flashlights in hand. The rhythmic pacing of their explorations reveal a considered yet organic choreography of bodies slowly moving in and out of frame in the liminal space where land meets water, where day meets night, where earth meets stars. EVENTIDE, like much of Lockhart’s work, invites contemplation, asks us to consider what we see and hear. The film has a solemn, almost dreamlike quality, one heightened by the night sky, the silhouettes searching in the dark, and the overwhelmingness of nature.

Lockhart extends the metaphorical possibilities of dark in a new series that oscillate, materially and conceptually, between photography and painting. Through a multilayered process, the large-scale canvases are underpainted with dye and then coated, repeatedly exposed to light and recoated multiple times with cyanotype, one of the earliest photographic emulsions. Lockhart’s work asks, are we in front of a photograph or a painting? Or is it both, or, alternately, does this work dissolve often outmoded medium hierarchies? Like the night sky, the dark blue works nearly read as black monochromes. Such manipulations, intentional and otherwise, affect perception, much like our perception shifts with the changing sky of EVENTIDE. Lockhart’s work elegantly gives physical form to the visual experience of darkness. These works also serve as distillations of concepts central to the exhibition: contingency, the unknown or unfamiliar, mystery and fear, solitude, and the forces of nature that unite or separate us. Alongside the film we might consider the qualities that align paintings, art historically, with screens or windows, of the thin line between abstraction and representation, even our insatiable hunger for images.

Lockhart expands a series of odes in both sculptural and photographic mediums with works that honor the late artist Mike Kelley, a mentor, on the 10th anniversary of his death. For the photograph, Mike, Lockhart continues her work with Ikebana artist Tory Lowitz, of the Sogetsu School, to capture the loss encountered with Kelley’s passing. Starting with a set of ceramic whiskey jugs, Lockhart and her collaborator built an arrangement of ming asparagus fern and foxtail barley. In the resulting photograph, the explosion of green foliage on the right is balanced by a second, more literal, explosion of one of the jugs, which Lockhart broke with a hammer. Amid the chiaroscuro, the jug’s fractured pieces, and the items it contained, cover the table.

The two jugs featured in the photograph, one fractured and one whole, have been cast in bronze: Whiskey Jug, Broken Whiskey Jug. Presented on a shared plinth in the final room of the exhibition, the intact jug is executed in a high-polish bronze and the fractured one is patinated deep brown with the edges left raw. This presentation offers a meditation on several dualities that are present in the exhibition’s other works as well: realism and aestheticization, craftsmanship and industrial production, containment and boundlessness, control and entropy, light and darkness, life and death.

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