news williamsburg artist caroline garrett hardys works on display at smith house galleries
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Williamsburg artist Caroline Garrett Hardy’s works on display at Smith House Galleries

Arts Council of the ValleyArts Council of the Valley opens a new Smith House Galleries exhibition of collage and mixed media works by Williamsburg artist Caroline Garrett Hardy on Friday, Oct. 7.

An opening reception for the artist will be held during First Fridays of the Valley on Oct. 7 from 5-7 p.m.

The event offers visitors their first glimpse of “Lands and Lives Not My Own,” plus a chance to enjoy refreshments and hear live indie-pop music by singer-songwriter Tarini.

Featuring kimonos and collages reflecting the lands and lives of Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Japan, Babylon, India, and China, the exhibition also contains frocks imagined from lives lived closer to home: in Appalachia and Civil War Virginia.

“Lands and Lives Not My Own” runs through Oct. 28.

Gallery hours Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Second Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The exhibition will also be available online at valleyarts.org/current-exhibition.

Caroline Garrett Hardy is a full-time artist in Williamsburg where she lives with her photographer husband, Trotter Hardy, a retired professor of law from the College of William and Mary.

She holds an undergraduate degree in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Arts in Book Arts from Ohio State University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Her professorships of studio art have included Savannah College of Art and Design, The Academy of Art University, Lees-McRae College and Christopher Newport University.

“My background in printmaking introduced me to handmade papers,” said Hardy in a news release. “The physical attributes of paper, from hand-made Japanese papers to throw-away materials like brochures or paper bags, fascinate me,” she added. “Using them, I make rubbings from utility covers, plaques and tombstones. Rubbings often form the foundation of my artwork.”

Hardy said ideas for her kimonos and collages come from literature, history, nature and travels.

“Because the kimono format has a front and back view, it allows exploration of ideas about color, shape and texture in different ways,” she said. “Although I do many preliminary sketches before beginning a new work, a kind of curious alchemy happens as I combine textures and imagery; each work pulls me in unexpected directions as it progresses, producing at the end a vibrantly colorful visual experience.”

Her artwork depends on rhythm and harmony through the use of rich textures and colors.

“When a viewer sees the interrelationship and meaning of all these attributes, I am thrilled,” she said.

Hardy’s work can be found in collections around the world, including The Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy; The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England; Windsor Castle in Windsor, England; Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C.; and the Rare Book Collection of the Tompkins-McCaw Library at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Located at 311 South Main Street in Harrisonburg, Arts Council of the Valley is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to cultivating the arts and connecting communities in the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.