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Katherine Le Hardy is a talented, young, British landscape painter. Having studied Fine Art at the University of the West of England, in Bristol, she has gone on to build her career, exhibiting extensively across the UK and winning a number of painting awards.

Le Hardy takes as her starting point the Cornish coast, but she is not a topographical painter. Instead, working from sketches and photographs, Le Hardy sets out to make paintings that ‘create a window on an imaginary coastal space’. Her sensitive handling of materials is central to this - the ebb and flow of paint across the canvas creating a dynamism that is well suited to her subject matter and pictorially compelling. As she has said it, ‘I like to use gestural marks and loose brushwork to engage the viewer and charge the composition with movement and dynamism, whilst still maintaining balance, building up the paint and alternating transparent and opaque layers, dripping, washing, splashing, allowing it to take its own fluid course and give the image a life of its own’.

Though rooted in a representative mode Le Hardy’s works embody an abstract drama which points beyond visual representation and towards the essence and dynamic forces of her subject matter. In so doing Hardy’s work updates a tradition of English landscape painting which points back to JMW Turner, and stretches through 20th century figures like Peter Lanyon and Victor Pasmore. The effects are highly absorbing, dreamlike works which bear serious contemplation.

Katharine LE HARDY