Robert Hardy is a British artist based in London.
Born 1952 in Salford he studied at North Staffs Polytechnic (1971-1974) and Chelsea School of Art (1974-1975).
His People paintings are composed mostly of assembled groups of figures, sometimes with added landscape features, painted on flat backgrounds in oil on canvas. Each painting is an attempt to make something permanent out of the flux and flow of contemporary life. A lifelong inspiration for Hardy are memories of his early life spent growing up in an industrial and urban environment together with a continuing fascination with crowded spaces and public gatherings such as he experienced at football matches, dance clubs and shopping areas. Another formative and enduring influence is the work of Salford’s principal chronicler L.S.Lowry.
Usually smaller in scale, simpler and less busy, the Angel paintings also represent another obsession for Hardy. For him the angel is both archetypal and personal and represents a strong visual metaphor for the creative power of the artist and is a persistent presence in most of his work. It is, in the words of Wallace Stevens,’ the necessary angel of earth, in whose sight you see the earth again’. Each angel, usually situated in a corner of the painting, acts as a talisman of hope and bringer of joy. Hardy is content to restrict himself to a limited palette and a recurring range of subjects drawn from personal memories and associations; houses, landscapes; cities; industrial sites and kitchen tables. Working through serial formats he is attempting to develop an infinite range of compositional possibilities. His chosen painting medium is oil on canvas or board. Colour is usually applied in flat abstract blocks on a pale ground, with little or no outline or impasto.
All paintings are in oil on canvas unless indicated.
Drawing is an important activity for Hardy both for teasing out ideas and for creating autonomous and related sequences of work. Here he enjoys using pencil as a simple means of expression on his preferred surfaces of distressed scraps of found paper and recycled card mostly of A4 size.
From 1976 until 2012 Hardy taught in schools and colleges. He remains indebted to the “innocent eye” of generations of his former pupils and students.