Charlie James Gallery is delighted to present our second solo show with Maryland-based self-taught artist Glenn Hardy Jr. titled Who Am I If I Don’t Represent? opening to the public on January 14th, 2023 from 6-9pm at 969 Chung King Road in Los Angeles.
Glenn Hardy’s artistic practice formed in response to the mass of negative visual language permeating the Black American experience: endless depictions of violence and suggestions of danger operating like a net around an entire community, limiting social movement and actively endangering lives. Hardy’s paintings are essentially performative acts of self-preservation achieved through the cultivation of empathy in their viewers. More than mere survival though, Hardy’s works declare a personal and collective determination to rise and to live unapologetically and without fear. In interviews Hardy has consistently expressed an affinity for the work of Kerry James Marshall and Ernie Barnes, the influence of both men being clearly visible in the work. Hardy’s work should also be examined alongside that of 20th century American artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell. Rockwell encoded an index of post-war American narratives through his magazine covers and paintings. Hardy’s work seeks to similarly encode positive narratives of the contemporary Black American experience, and in so doing combat existing bias.
The scenes presented in “Who Am I If I Don’t Represent?” are centered in gatherings and reunions, supported by portraits of work, play, and different forms of achievement. Hardy sees the paintings as almost a linear narrative from privation to progress, supported throughout by friends and family, culminating in success and celebration. Words from the artist: “This show will take you on a journey, from the times of having nothing, following your dreams and hoping it’ll be the way out, to taking advice from the OG’s that sat in rocking chairs on the porch, from rekindling relationships that were absent for so long it made you say, ‘long time, no see,’ to celebrating that moment when you can finally say, ‘look momma, I made it’.”
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