Lombard-Freid Projects is pleased to present, Next to Nothing, the debut solo exhibition in the US of Amsterdam-based British artist Claire Harvey. Harvey’s delicate, figurative oil paintings on glass, canvas and transparency make clever puns on material and scale while portraying the most quotidian acts and circumstances. With images reminiscent of film noir stills, Harvey forms a fleeting, melancholic universe of existential isolation.
The main gallery features an installation created by employing an assemblage of pre-determined elements and relationships improvised on site. Using overhead projectors and spotlights to stage narrative scenes composed of light and shadow, the installation becomes a cinematic exploration – at once a screening of a silent movie and the set itself. The viewer is implicated, as his passage through the gallery space forms shadows that reveal or conceal parts of the installation.
Harvey’s nostalgic, gray-toned universe is one in which illusions and objects come together in a magic network of elusive perceptions, associations and impossibilities. While always retaining an unspecified nature, the solitary figures and moments captured are images culled from newspapers, films, magazines and photographs (some taken by the artist). They are fragments of scenes and visual manifestations of the meeting point of disparate realities. Incomplete acts and subtle gestures create unexpected, accidental exchanges and interactions between characters.
While one person tugs on a loose thread, another uses it to balance on like a tightrope walker. A man stands on a large ball made of sticky tack, the very same adhesive material used to fix the transparency to the wall. This double use of material as a practical agent and a compositional element is characteristic of Harvey’s work. She draws you into the fantasy while revealing the mechanism of the illusion at the same time.
Claire Harvey was born in 1976. She studied at Reading University, Chelsea College of Art in London, and recently completed a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include – Easily Removable, Member’s room, Tate Modern, London; Biennial of Contemporary Art, Le Havre, France; Unisono 18: Claire Harvey, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Netherlands; Prix de Rome 2007, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Politics, Maisterra Valbuena, Madrid, Spain.