Working intuitively and responding to the process as it unfolds, Robert Hardgrave tries to stay out of the way and let the paintings make themselves. After a kidney transplant in 2003, his work, which fuses mysticism, Inuit iconography, surrealism, and abstraction, began to reveal insights about life, death, and the richness of everything in between. At his studio in Building C, an old Ballard paint warehouse that houses two floors of artists and a film production company, Hardgrave showed me a slew of work, including some oddly-shaped sewn pieces that were recently on display at EC Gallery, Chicago. He painted on heavy, unstretched burlap fabric, cut it up, and then sewed the scraps back together with with fancy binding
stitches crafted from neon thread
using an old sewing machine that still sits on his worktable. He's become obsessed with sewing, which, it turns out, was one of his father's preoccupations, too. Fittingly, he called the show in Chicago "The Apple Doesn't Fall Too Far From the Tree."
Subscribe to Two Coats of Paint by email.