Curiosity about matter led Belmont alumnus Andy Harding to study chemistry and physics in college and obtain his degree in science, but he soon began searching for ways to explore these interests through art and the alchemy of object-making. Now a well-respected practicing artist and sculptor in the Nashville art community, Harding recently opened an exhibition called “Arrokoth” that runs through May 29 at Tinney Contemporary, a downtown art gallery.
In the years following his graduation, Harding’s visual and conceptual identity evolved as an artist-in-residence at the historic Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville. His work was exhibited in Belmont’s Leu Art Gallery in 2015, and in 2016, he was invited to join 12 other art professionals from around the U.S. to study contemporary art in China. Harding’s work has been exhibited nationally and can be found in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the United States. He is currently represented by Tinney Contemporary in Nashville, TN.
“Arrokoth,” the Powhatan word for “sky,” is the name given to the most distant and primitive object ever explored by a spacecraft. For thousands of years, human beings have trained their gaze toward the heavens: for purposes of navigation, scientific discovery, or as vessels for stories and myths. This body of work embodies that tradition—inspired by Harding’s own fascination with the cosmos and the origins of matter. Though celestial objects are alien to us, they contain the same elements that make up our own planet and all the rocks, trees and living things therein.
“Arrokoth” is a meditation on the vastness of the cosmos and the myriad contradictions within while highlighting the essentially alien nature of our own familiar world. The installation consists of sculptural objects of varying sizes reshaped from fallen trees into alien artifacts, resting on metal stands that evoke landing gear. Large-scale prints and video further the world-building element of the work by providing a glimpse into the supposed origin of the objects, floating in the abyss of space. The result is an eerie encounter with a cosmic other, an engagement with mythologies old and new.
There will be an open reception of the solo exhibition on May 1, and Harding will present an artist talk on May 20 at 6 p.m. Visit tinneycontemporary.com for more information.