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Andrew Hardwick 'The Last of the Silence'

Ani­ma Mun­di present The Last of the Silence’ by Andrew Hard­wick, which, high­lights a con­cern over ever decreas­ing wilder­ness spaces.

This is Andrew Hardwick’s fifth solo exhibition at Anima Mundi. Hardwick’s sedimentary paintings display his captivation with ever decreasing wilderness zones; both natural and man-made. Playing with and subverting traditional notions of romantic landscape painting and the sublime.

Hardwick draws partial inspiration from a specifically intimate relationship with location. This deep rooted understanding is cultivated in no small part through his idiosyncratic heritage where the family farm adjoined the Bristol Channel and included a large acreage of tidal salt marshes in the Portishead area of Bristol. The farm was first sliced in half by the M5 motorway and then again by the Royal Portbury Dock. Hardwick’s personal landscape, as with many across the country and further afield, continues to experience dramatic transition. In a very literal sense Hardwick has witnessed his personal history and the intertwined landscape of his childhood, become fractured and buried, in his case beneath a colossal car park where the family sheep once roamed. Remaining land now mostly awaits development, with hedges gone, marker posts installed, given up by its more recent custodians. Much of this land is now so heavily polluted that it could not be used for crops, so sits, fenced off, awaiting. In this strange transient zone, nature begins to temporarily reclaim, yet the construction of new massive depot Warehouses continues to proliferate, obliterating further. This same area is infused by the estuarial light of the nearby brown sea, no doubt coloured by countless years of pollution from its industrial neighbours. This new world, as is its rapacious tendency, has swallowed up the old.

Hardwick paints these landscapes that he sees but also the one that he remembers. Etched with those long gone sheep who were once herded on the saltings and ships once witnessed, now rotting or scrapped. These ghost like paintings often depict these edge-land zones where other works draw inspiration from the more typically idyllic locations such as coast line and moorland. However, even these landscapes are filled with subtle reminders of human interference. This is a notion ever present throughout Hardwick’s paintings, where either the stark presence of the modern makes itself unambiguously known or where something deeply mournful lurks beneath a seemingly quiet, lyrical pastoralism.
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Curating Painting