August 2019


HARVESTER’S DILEMMA | PATRICK HARKIN

Hamiltonian Gallery is pleased to announce “Harvester’s Dilemma,” its second solo exhibition by Patrick Harkin. A reception will be held for the artist on Saturday, 10 August from 6 - 9pm. 

Working with photography, sound, light, sculpture and film Harkin creates large scale installations and sound interventions that explore and critique historical photographic conventions and the role of photographic imagery within mass media culture. Harkin’s contentious relationship with photography and a desire to create new modes of perception are central to his conceptual practice. Harkin considers carefully the materials he works with, as the materiality of the work holds an insistent conceptual presence. 

In the low lighting of the gallery the individual works beckon for a photographic gesture of their own: the viewer is invited to re-photograph and engage with the material image with their smartphones. Anti-photographic fabric is a central material for this exhibition as is the versatility of its application. The material itself is embedded with thousands of micro-crystal lenses, whose primary function is to blind the camera, as a sort of photographic bug repellent, refusing to fully represent what is cloaked beneath it. What the human eye sees is not what the light and lens of the camera sees, a message that can only be fully told with the use of a camera flash. 

Framed photographs and stop-motion film, depicting dark voids against highly contrasted stage props, reference early lensless photography and early silent films. These theatrical photogram-like images point to the material conditions of their production and display. The photographic works and film sequences operate simultaneously as records of the environmental conditions of their exposure and handling, and as markers of physical labor-time and space required to produce them. 

The exhibition delves into the depths of the photography and its broader social, ideological, environmental implications. Harkin’s artistic process is in a way a feedback loop: he creates images that create and *demonstrate a new relationship with our perception and our things. He confronts the underlying mechanisms of control, which hide so well within the contemporary photographic apparatus. To let the demon work through the images and infrastructures we have, to possess them, to haunt them, to reverse them and to heal. 

*Demonstrate: from demonstrare meaning “to show” and monstrum meaning “the Monster”

Patrick Harkin (b. 1990, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois) currently teaches in the department of Photography and Film and the Art Foundations Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BFA from the University of Florida in 2015 and his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017. Recent exhibitions of his work have taken place at Virginia’s Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia Beach), VALET (Richmond), The Anderson Gallery (Richmond), Florida’s Museum of Photographic Arts (Tampa) and Gallery Protocol (Gainesville). Patrick is a recipient of the 2019-2020 Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s Professional Artist Fellowship and is a 2017-2019 Hamiltonian Fellow. 

click here to download a copy of the press release


August 10 - September 14, 2019

Opening Reception
Saturday, August 10, 7-9pm

Artist Talk
Thursday, September 12, 7-9pm


Hamiltonian Artists:

Patrick Harkin