Frederick Hart - Echo of Silence, 1992
Clear acrylic resin
Size: 21 ½”
Initialed, dated and numbered 200/350
Provenance: Private Collection, New York
Condition report: The piece has an internal crack, most likely created in the making of. It is only seen upon closer inspection of the work.
Certificate of Authenticity included
Remaining faithful to representational practice in spite of abstract and conceptual developments in contemporary art, Frederick Hart produced a compelling body of work marked by remarkable beauty and innovation. Continuing his exploration of the being and non-being, the artist started experimenting with clear Lucite, creating clear acrylic figures that seem to emerge and disappear.
Although artists have been casting bronze and other metals since antiquity, no legacy of casting clear acrylic resin existed before Hart’s efforts. Although used for abstract assemblages, the material’s potential as a medium for casting figurative sculptures that required undercuts as well as flexible molds has never been harnessed before. After a lot of trial and error, Hart managed to cast stunning figurative forms all in one piece, subsequently perfecting his embedment process.
The sculpture Echo of Silence is part of the artist’s “Dreams, Visions, and Visitations” series. With this work, the artist brought his decades-long embedment process vision full-circle. Multidimensional, it is a variation on a pictorial process used by the Renaissance masters who painted detailed narratives of events unfolding. Indeed, Hart presents us with a story in a truly majestic art form. A ghostly female figure that rises from the inside of the clear Lucite, gives this work an unearthly quality. Celestial and sensual, this piece presented another step in the artist’s remarkable accomplishment in a working process he patented in the 1980s.
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About Frederick Hart
As one of America’s greatest representational artists, Frederick Hart left a lasting and unique mark in the world of modern sculpture. Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1943, he studied at the University of South Carolina and after protesting alongside black students during the Civil rights movement, he moved to Washington D.C. to continue his studies at the Corcoran School of Art. Fascinated with the human figure and the classical approach, he started developing his career in 1966 as a stone carver apprentice at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Leaving the Cathedral in 1971, Hart started his own studio practice but had little success in the first years. In 1974, he was awarded the project by the Cathedral to create a contemporary interpretation of The Creation, an event that would change his life. Soon, Hart’s career took a turn for the better and in the upcoming decades, he rose to national prominence, becoming a government art advisor in 1985 and receiving the prestigious Henry Hering Award from the National Sculpture Society in 1987.
Best known for his architectural public sculpture work, Frederick Hart remained loyal to the figurative art, speaking very critically of abstract and similar art movements. He was the voice of moral responsibility among artists and the propagator of the classical aesthetic notions in art, representing the group of like-minded artists called “The Centerists”. "My work isn't art for art's sake, it's about life. I have no patience with obscure or unintelligible art - I want to be understood," he used to say, alluding to the higher aspirations and clear message his art delivered. Frederick Hart’s works are celebrated for their beauty and flawless execution, always in movement, layered with emotion, often depicting a form of religious trance or heightened state of awareness. With strong religious undertones, they can be seen as universal allegories, so rare, yet necessary in contemporary life and art.
Despite his traditional views on the artistic substance, Hart was a pioneer in the use of transparent acrylic resin in the creation of figurative sculptures. He patented a process of embedding one sculpture inside another, an innovative method that was not characteristic for religious (or other) sculpture until that time.
Hart died on August 13, 1999, in Baltimore, Maryland.