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Kathryn Hart: A feminist in Venice

Installation view, Venice

Contributed by Emma Stolarski / Kathryn Hart’s “New Dawn,” an inventive site-specific exhibition of sculpture and photography, contemplates the simultaneous organic processes of generation, regeneration, degradation, and, finally, documentation. Each wire-and-fiberglass sculpture incorporates the tension between becoming and eroding, renewal and entropy, growth and decay. The pieces glisten with an embryonic presence and almost seem capable of molting. In a series of photographs, deer remains are turned into post-literal abstractions, in which worn bones become disembodied illusions of light and shadow. The images document and ultimately replace the bones, originally the last phase of an animal’s existence, with a black-and-white image that records this loss. At the same time, that they are on display in Hart?s art exhibition in Venice suggests the hopeful possibility of rebirth in a new, unanticipated form.

Hart believes that sculpture’s boundaries are like membranes, permeable by light, air, space, and emotion. Notions about female agency, power and self-determination led her to deploy floor spotlights in the exhibition to amplify the diminutive objects’ presence, creating shadows, reflections, and gestures far larger than the original sculpture throughout the gallery space. Thus, with elegant touch, like Calder on a smaller scale, she has enabled the tabletop objects to interact with the environment, the audience, and, most importantly, one another. 

Artist Kathryn Hart

For six months, “New Dawn” has been on view at Palazzo Mora in Venice, where Hart found herself alternating between contemplating contemporary art and being awed by Tintoretto, Veronese, and Titian. “Having the work in Venice and participating in an event associated with the Venice Biennale has been a tremendous experience. The entire city was immersed in art, art conversations, discourse, and dialogue. It was buzzing with creativity.” Continuing its infiltration of Renaissance venues, a larger solo exhibition is moving to the Valencian Community of Spain, where it will be part of “The Other Voice, a program sponsored by the Cultural Department of the city of Gandia. A full slate of art installations, panel discussions, artist talks, and musical presentations will be included.


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