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Brian Zapin, The Improper Magazine, March 2006
“The moments he captures are awe inspiring, creating a sense of grandeur that suggests the endless possibilities of life and love.”

Robert Long, The East Hampton Star, March 30, 2006
“Mr. Hardy, a part-time Springs resident, is a good old-fashioned fealist painter with a masterful eye for the dynamics of Manhattan architecture and the city's ambience. Here are the swarming, dirty streets, the yellow hank of taxis, the stolid, grimy brownstones: You sense the grit and charged air.”

“Mr. Hardy, besides calling attention to the mingling of commerce and culture, happens to be very funny, as well, and he is not afraid to lay it on thick — there are pictures in which the quantity of satirical elements, including captions, almost capsizes paintings whose composition and range of color and texture are already complicated.”

David Cohen, The New York Sun, March 9, 2006
“Mr. Hardy offers an update of Hopper, introducing that painter of modern life to oversexed billboards and cellphones. He milks these themes dry, but his humorous images have ingenuity and charm.”
DFN Gallery, March 2006
“...Hardy expands his interpretation of the contemporary world, bringing into play ideas of the active and the interactive, conspicuous consumerism and its effect on identity, and social acculturation.”

“Hardy's saturated, symbol-laden images are rendered in a deliberately complex space, catching his subjects in moments of interplay that draw the viewer into the work, denying them the comfort of the very detachment he speaks to.”

Robert Long, The East Hampton Star, October 18, 2001
“The Manhattan skyline is a daunting subject. It is so good on its on that trying to make it yours on canvas—“capturing” it—is almost impossible if you’re a literalist. If you’re an extremist—Red Grooms or Richard Estes, say—it loves you. Otherwise, you’re in trouble because, like the Grand Canyon, it lends itself more readily to kitsch than to art. John Hardy’s painterly narratives of the New York streets are like Ashcan School pictures but their tone is surreal.”

“Mr. Hardy is like a combination of Weegee and Reginald Marsh, but he makes up his own city rather than record the one that’s already there, and that’s his strength.”

Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune, June 13, 1991
“John Hardy’s figurative paintings, at the Ratner Gallery, 750 New Orleans St., present beach scenes as metaphors for existential conditions.”

“The land-and-water setting seems to have inspired something more akin to the “eternal note of sadness” in Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach.” But, of course, Hardy’s visual signs are familiar, up to date in appearance and a part of the contemporary everyday.”

“Hardy’s world, like Arnold’s, “hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.” It is a desolate place where men and women confront themselves and their individual relationships to an even faster passing of time.”

Greenwich Time, October 19, 1994
“The tranquility of the scene is at times jarring as the viewer realizes the changes that are constantly evolving in life. Like the works of Hopper or Eakins, Hardy’s paintings with their bold horizon line, figure placement and visually extended backgrounds serve to include viewers in his paintings.”

Ann Weinstein, Roanoke Times & World News, Sunday, October 11, 1987
“Walk into John Hardy’s show in the Roanoke Museum and think immediately of pools, pleasure and David Hockney, an English painter cavorting now in Southern California.”

“Walk through the gallery and see, at second glance, that Hardy is not operating on the pleasure principle but on the threshold of pain. By definition the swimming pools in the “Mountain Pool” series should be sweet, idle objects of desire. Instead, angular compositions, precipitous perspectives and candy-color cement convert them into edgy environments. The small clearings of artifice establish not an either/or, but a neither/nor situation, within the confines of the surrounding mountains.”

Janet Heit, Retrospective Catalog Essay, 1985
“To cite his work as a realist, you would have to be prepared to acknowledge that reality is only what you make it out to be, since most of the work that Hardy has been doing over the past decade involves trying to shatter logical notions about time, place, and narrative content.”

“Throughout his evocative mysteries, it is ultimately this kind of balance that John Hardy seeks. The balance he is after, however, has nothing to do with complacency and harmony. Hardy seeks the tension of good jazz, the precise moment in a painting that happens when every element in that painting can stand on its own and call you to attention.”

Tram Combs, Arts Magazine, January 1984
“John Hardy concentrates on his own personal artistic explorations, utterly ignoring fashions in the art world.”

“In the late 1970s, his themes were realistically contemporary persons absorved in moments of their daily lives, unaware of being observed.”

“The realism of these paintings becomes less substantive with acquaintance, and becomes a realism of ambivalence. This painter is a complex, thoughtful traditionalist developing his own vision, based equally in classic modernism and in European traditions of realism.”

Renata Karlin Warshaw, “Exchanges III Exhibition” Essay, June 1981
“The EXCHANGES exhibition series—a multileveled dialogue between artists and their audience and artists as audience—now in its third year, has explored important aspects of contemporary art and has contributed many positive qualities to the visual arts at Henry Street.”

“Some of the common threads in EXCHANGES III include the exploration of female imagery in the Benny Andrews-John Hardy-Joan Semmel line.”

“Hardy began painting in a realist manner in 1974 after finding abstract expressionism unsatisfactory for his personal mode of visual expression. His apprenticeship in abstract expressionism has served him well, however; his paintings are tightly structured giving as careful attention to the picture plane as any abstract painter. Hardy paints interiors and street scenes. In his interiors we are given an intimate view of women. His street scenes depict fleeting moments in bleak, littered streets with isolated figures and carefully observed urban architecture.”

Tram Combs, Art in America, May/Jun 1978.
“His first New York show is recent work, now taking up a slightly expressionist realism related to Hopper, Eakins, Homer. Essentially this is psychological portraiture, indoors or out in lower Manhattan.”

“These paintings, the most accomplished of Hardy’s career so far, offer evidence of new strength in the humanist branch of American realist painting.”

Margaret Pomfret, Arts Magazine, May 1978
“Hardy’s current interest is in “phases and states” of people within the city. Carrying forward, with consummate skill and sensitivity, the best American genre traditions of Eakins, Homer and Hopper, his subjects are both uniquely individual and profoundly universal. Shoring up his great sympathy for the persons he depicts is his careful interest in their abstract organization in space”

“…energy, spirit, and alienation of urban living, his figures occupy the canvas plane as both isolated beings and integral parts of the composition.”

William Sterling, “John Hardy’s Paintings,” Wilkes College, March 1978
“Hardy creates a powerful tonal drama to counterpoint the elusiveness of his silent or secretive subjects. His narratives remain enigmas, fragments of untold stories, like the pieces of crumpled paper that appear in many of the pictures. Hardy’s urban environment is transformed into something mysterious and timeless.”

Margaret Betz, Art News, February 1978
“John Hardy (Genesis): More than portraits or cityscapes. Hardy’s recent canvases are his most potent statement to date about those pervasive 20th-century phenomena, isolation and alienation”

“The compositional strength…reminds us that Hardy considers himself “fundamentally a formalist” (influenced by Diebenkorn), who composes with the picture’s abstract qualities always in mind.”

“Like his choice of titles, this tone keeps alive the ambiguity fundamental to Hardy’s paintings.”
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