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Glenn Hardy Jr. at Charlie James Gallery
At Charlie James, Glenn Hardy Jr.’s Who Am I If I Don’t Represent? challenges negative biases about the contemporary Black experience. In the Maryland-based, self-taught artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, scenes of positivity lead the way. Hardy’s paintings are suffused with influence from artists like Kerry James Marshall and Ernie Barnes, with uplifting imagery of Black people at play, in the workplace, or in celebratory communion.
Particularly tender are paintings like Happiest Hours and Family Reunion (both 2022), which depict gatherings marked by a sense of comfort, relaxation, and above all, joy. In the first, a group of Black people gather around a picnic table and cheese for the camera at what appears to be a backyard barbecue. In Family Reunion, one young man cools off with a small white towel over his head in the foreground as a bevy of revelers in the grassy background participate in a line dance.
Hardy offers up moments of exuberance to offset the notions of violence and precarity we’ve come to expect from mass media’s limiting portrayal of contemporary Black life.
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On view: January 14 – February 11, 2023
Photo: Happiest Hours (detail) (2022). Image courtesy of the artist and Charlie James Gallery. Photo: Yubo Dong / ofstudio.