I first saw Hilary Harnischfeger‘s work at the Marie Sharpe Walsh foundation studios a couple of years ago and felt an immediate affinity with her work. Her sculpture is built intuitively, incrementally, creates patterns, yet breaks them and has a palpable presence but is not operatically assertive – all qualities that I find compelling. She now has a show at Rachel Uffner. I find I am more drawn to the 3 sculptures than to the sculptural wall works. The wall works are painting-like and while the play of the materials is inventive the composition remains in the realm of cubism/constructivism/hard-edge-abstraction while the sculptures have associative suggestion of momentarily unnameable things – vessels, artifacts, crystallized fragments of utilitarian objects from another world. Both the sculptures and the wall works are beautiful and rugged and tell the story of their making – laminating colored sheets of paper, slicing them, casting concrete parts, repeating and reworking until all the parts suggestively connect.
The photographs don’t do the work justice. The detail and the work’s visceral qualities are flattened, softened, lost.