Barbara Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Sharon Lockhart. The exhibition includes multiple-panel, large-scale color photographs that portray interactions between humans and the realist sculpture of Duane Hanson. A series of nineteen smaller-scale photographs and a 16mm film that were inspired by the radical form of Japanese flower arranging, NO-no Ikebana, will also be on view for the first time.
Lockhart presents a monumental four-part photographic work that pays homage to Hanson’s monumental sculpture Lunch Break (1989). The sculpture depicts three construction workers taking their lunch among the scaffolding and ladders from which they have descended, while the photographs depict two museum preparators installing the work. Lockhart’s careful placement of the two men with the sculpture implies the delicate relationship among those who directly handle the artwork, opening a discourse on the idea of the worker: from the museum worker to the construction worker and full circle to the absent artist-worker. These complexities are manifest in the almost life-size photographs that depict the sculpture and its grand physicality from all four sides within the museum’s white walls, evidencing the work behind-the-work that is often unseen. The photographs embrace the enormity of detail within the sculpture itself, which often goes unnoticed in the usually frontal presentation of the work while exhibited and represented in photographic illustration.
A large-scale diptych, Maja and Elodie, depicts a woman interacting with Hanson’s more intimate sculpture, Child with Puzzle from 1978. The sculpture represents a girl sitting on a rug making a jigsaw puzzle, which Lockhart photographs with the young woman sitting across from the sculpture. The woman tenderly looks down at the girl, simultaneously intimating a human relationship between them and the careful attention necessarily given to the sculpture itself. The two photographs are nearly identical except that a minor activity has taken place: in the second photograph the woman has lifted a piece of the puzzle from the rug, so that there is a slight shadow beneath it.
A series of nineteen photographs divided among four groupings portrays the life cycle of a NO-no Ikebana arrangement of brussels sprouts. A radical form of the Japanese art of Ikebana flower arranging, the philosophy of NO-no Ikebana is one of agriculture, in which fruits and vegetables are selected directly from the farm and the life cycle of the arrangement is highly considered. For this series, Lockhart has photographed one arrangement multiple times a day on each of the 31 days of December. Her selections and consequent groupings portray the still life arrangement as a series of gestures, in which the plant itself slowly yellows and wilts against a smoky-green background.
The film NO is presented on 16mm and depicts a husband and wife team of farmers working the land. As in her previous films, the fixed-frame of the camera shows daily activities that are carefully choreographed, here as the farmers enter the far ground of the field and slowly form piles of hay from side to side, moving their way toward the foreground. At this point they move backward again, slowly spreading the hay across the field. The result is a kind of real-time landscape painting, in which the costumes, lighting, colors of the landscape, actions of the farmers, and fixed view present an homage to agriculture from the other side of the practice of NO-no Ikebana.
Sharon Lockhart was born in 1964 and lives and works in Los Angeles. Selected one-person exhibitions include: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam, Kunsthalle Zurich, and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Pitti Imagine Discovery, Florence; MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Kansas City, MO; and Künsterhaus Stuttgart. Lockhart’s films have been included in the New York Film Festival; Telluride International Experimental Cinema Exposition, Denver; Vienna International Film Festival; International Film Festival, Berlin; and the Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah.