Brooklyn, New York
Long Island University
Ruth Hardinger’s recent show, “The Basement Rocks,” arose out of her concern about how fuel extraction disturbs the earth’s foundational strata. Functioning like the best science fiction, Hardinger’s activist work projects well-founded fears into the near future, her totem-like sculptures acting as harbingers for anthro-induced ecological ruin. “The Basement Rocks” displayed an impulse toward immersive installation, although the sculptures themselves felt like individual studio experiments. Gray floors, ashen concrete sculptures, and the ovoid shape of the all-glass gallery all evoked a kind of post-industrial Zen garden. A sound collage by Andy Chase swooshed like an echocardiogram in the background, playing recordings of seismic activity and drilling at a fracking site. Hardinger’s materials are foundational: poured concrete and cardboard (used for molds). The former carries associations with building, permanence, and stability. Cardboard, however, is the epitome of disposable packaging and what we turn to during times of transition. Combining these materials invites chance to collaborate in terms of how the cardboard will sag, stick, bulge, imprint, and sometimes semi-permanently adhere as liquid concrete is poured into it, hardening into a rocky solid. …see the entire review in the print version of December’s Sculpture magazine.