Transcending the concrete environment around us, my paintings explore abstracted realms of space and time.

I’ve always painted in the nonobjective, relying mostly on my intuition and immediate feedback with the paints and surface. Abstraction is a way of seeing the world, a way to deconstruct the assumed and explore the unseen, or depths of our experiences. In these depths, a new world emerges. Painting is a process of liberation, freeing the structured framework of the world as we see it and tapping into the mysterious.

Dismissing traditional painting techniques, I liberally apply water-based, acrylic paint and oil-based, spray paint together. Not unlike what happens in our actual landscape, water and oil mux into a colorful relationship. This process produces organic results relatively out of my control. Once dry, I layer acrylic, latex, or charcoal, stacking a complex field of colors and shapes. Rhythms emerge from repeated marks, revealing an organic symphony of textures and colors. I hope viewers experience the effects of my paintings as they do in good music.

My most recent work reflects a juxtaposition between an ancient backdrop of mountain ranges with that of a modern, urban cityscape. The gridded structure of concrete, neon-lit billboards, and processed materials is a relatively recent addition to the millennium-old geography. This relationship between two opposing forces, produces a colorful rhythm that is constantly evolving. I don’t necessarily paint what I see with my eyes, but rather rephrase the experience of existing within this timeless landscape. To this end, I often paint en plein air around the lower Appalachia region, into the Blue Ridge mountains. Ultimately the work I create is not only intended to be enjoyed like music, but also a glimpse into the timeless, mysterious world embedded within our natural environment.

- Clay Hardwick (2022)