Experiments in Form at Hartwell : Sterling Bowen, Abie Harris, Mar Hester, Pete Sack, and Natalia Torres del Valle

25 April - 31 August 2022

Triangle-based artists experiment with color, shape, and form in an off-site exhibition on view at Hartwell curated by Charlotte Russell Contemporary. 

On view at Hartwell, Experiments in Form features artworks by five Triangle-based artists, Sterling Bowen, Abie Harris, Mar Hester, Pete Sack, and Natalia Torres del Valle. Through their own unique process and materials, each artist experiments with spontaneity vs. control, interconnectedness, and the process of making. Curated by Charlotte Russell Contemporary, Experiments in Form will be on view April 25 through August 31, 2022. 


Sterling Bowen 

Sterling Bowen begins his paintings via a system of automatic drawing using interconnected isometric cubes for two reasons, the first being the ability to work intuitively and arrive at a structure, and the second being the naturally discordant nature of the structure which becomes rich with optic possibilities. 


The conceptual basis for the cube is its representation of early, Modernist ideas of nonrepresentational painting, pointing to one of several ideas- here, “concerned with its own formal qualities.” It can certainly have other meanings- for Bowen that includes experiences ranging from early childhood memories of building blocks to the eye-popping appeal for his generation of wire-frame strategies for conveying solids on a glowing computer screen. 


 Abie Harris

Visualizing architectural concepts was the essence of his work as the University Architect at NC State University. Creating forms and exploring their relationships with color were the foundations of this work and now are the foundations of my paintings and drawings. Visual structure, whether in teapots, water towers, or ordinary objects, presents an ongoing exploration of forms and their interrelationships.


Mar Hester

My sculptures utilize digitally altered photographs, geometric shapes and repeating patterns to explore the complex world of human perception with a strong basis in nature. As the viewer moves around the work, the work hides and reveals more of itself creating a unique and individualized experience - which elevates the question of what one identifies as reality.


Pete Sack

This work is a meeting of the gestural spontaneity of acrylic paint and the control of ink drawing, as they coexist on yupo paper. Sack begins by creating forms of paint,  directing it with squeegees and trowels. The result is a mapping of an intuitive process itself, which is then punctuated by dynamic lines of ink. The ink markings call to mind something organic, yet intangible. They urge an intimate investigation into their creation and their meaning.


Natalia Torres del Valle

Abstract and highly textural paintings are built on memories of natural landscapes and our interconnectedness with the environment. Her paintings are dimensional and communicate rare moments of witnessing life, growth, light, and form in nature. Color choices represent the extreme possibilities found within a landscape and express the change we see in the life forms around us.


Her art-making process often entails discovering what is underneath the surface and responding to the unpredictable forms that emerge. She repeatedly build up and erode the image using water to break down layers of color, mirroring the natural erosion of the environment. Discarded paint skins are given new life in forms reminiscent of organism systems, fungal growth, and natural formations. A constant exploration of the ephemerality of a material, landscape, and memory sealed in resin to preserve moments in time.