Lydia Harder is a Santa Cruz based artist currently studying at Cabrillo College and transfering to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the fall. Her work spans across many mediums such as print making, painting, fiber and material arts, as well as digital fabrication. Harder often pulls inspiration from herself and life experiences, constantly examining her relationship with herself and utilizing various mediums in order to best execute these explorations.
“This particular body of work is part of my ongoing series exploring the concept of a self-fabricated image of one’s identity. Examining personal and family history, along with objects, symbols, and moments that I associate with myself help me to bring my own self reflection into a physical and public space. We rely so heavily on these ephemeral external sources as a way to express and communicate ourselves to others. I plan to continue my study of this topic in the foreseeable future as I believe there is still so much to be learned about our perceptions of identity.”
For me, the act of painting outdoors provides an escape from the humdrum, a respite from an increasingly pervasive culture of commodification in which we live. In searching out a quiet place, I am seeking a temporary sanctuary, a meditation, a point from which I can follow along and perhaps lose myself among the contours of nature and the play of light, of color and form. I make a few initial brushstrokes and so begins the familiar process of building up a small reflection of the world before me—a thoroughly absorbing task urged on by the gradual and changing passage of light. The time it takes to complete a piece might be a single session of four hours or may be the product of a series of sittings. Sometimes the work is finished in the studio.
Although I do enjoy working on both figurative and non-objective (abstract) paintings and learn a great deal from that process, I find there is something endlessly compelling about the whole project of taking oil painting outdoors and into the fresh air and sunlight. There is risk and unpredictability there along with the hope of discovering something hidden, and the chance to try to express, through your own lens, a sense of being there. My hope is that something of the character of these places—a visual echo tangible yet ephemeral—emerges in these pieces.
First Friday Artist Reception
Lydia Harder at Stripe
Brian Rounds at Stripe Men
Friday, June 7th