"I am glad that our family can be seen today as a four-legged table." These were the words of Gwen Hardie for the opening night of Skin Over Bone, an exhibition celebrating the work of James, Gwen and Amy Hardie. Despite being united by their family connection, the three artists are showing very different works of art. Visitors could also admire the beautiful sculptures of Ann Hardie, beloved wife and mother, who died in 1999. "It is the first time our works are shown together," Gwen pointed out.
The Hardie family is composed of three distinct artists. Painter, filmmaker and teacher James Hardie explores the complexity of structure and pattern through landscape painting with an aerial perspective. Gwen Hardie, the youngest living artist to put up a solo exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh, 1994), materialises the female body through oil paint. And Amy Hardie's art takes the form of documentary films, recording what we see as well as what we cannot see.
In a corner of the hall, a black cabinet is filled with everything Amy loves and needs. "These are jams jars, they are home, they are what is keeping me sane," she explained. Notebooks, statuettes and pictures are lying there, depicting Amy's personal universe. Next to the cabinet, four short films about different patients of the hospice are screened, showing how Amy and the patients use the camera as a playful tool, singing and dancing.
In this very poetic and moving atmosphere, Amy announced that Strathcarron Hospice needs to collect £70,000 a week to be able to function. Jim Brown, who used to work in cancer research and has been a fundraiser for the hospice for years now, was there to help: "We organise many events, such as craft sales where some of the items sold were made by the patients, or vintage sales like today." Climbing on the stage, wearing his suit, Jim showed everybody that he is also an amazing singer, interpreting 'The Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon'. All the money gathered that night was given to Strathcarron. "It's a good thing to do," Jim said with a smile.
Skin Over Bone will be running until 3 May 2013 at the University of Stirling. Entry is free.