Pamela Hardesty at the Fenton Gallery by Mark Patrick Hederman

Preliminary thoughts on Pamela Hardesty’s exhibition in the Fenton Gallery, Cork. 5 December 2002

Click here for images from the Fenton Gallery exhibition

Pamela’s ‘The Water and the Blood’ exhibition is in the stone-walled, barrel-vaulted space, entered through a narrow awning. The titles nearly put me off: Christ’s Passion, the Water and the Blood, The Sacred Heart! However her focus is on the role of the physical in spiritual transcendence; how the body can be vehicle for the Spirit. ‘Complex, dense, structural compositions, using glass and stone units linked by wire’. Impressive = sacred hearts and stations in abstract textures like flesh. Using the softer, more skin-like surface of paper, she depicts abuse – cutting, piercing, peeling, and the effect is startling. Like the flaying of Marsyas almost to find through the threaded flesh the emergence of the reality within. The Stations as ‘the way of the body’ are horrific: almost litmus tests of the skin at each blue, black, brown, red, clotted second of the various kinds of torture. Over these an etched ice pack of slender glass conveying the ever-present overarching gossamer of grace. Grace as expanding gyres. The third section, to the side in a tight little box, are the wound series. The five sense breakthrough to the world of matter. The holes pierced into the wall of our prison. These are wounds of purity, enlightenment, mercy and nourishment. The holes = stinging tautness. The call is to the wound which is the eye of each of us, with a moveable skin we call a lid. Eye-lid, stay open until the moulten drop is poured. The chain-mail slashed through to the centre of the mandala forces water from the wound, stitched as a cross through shattered structures, sending ripples of circling floodwater through the rim of the smashed eye-ball out to the four corners of the universe. This one was the icon of the whole.

Click here for images of Pamela Hardesty’s work from the Fenton Gallery exhibition

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