Climber shows a contorted tiger ascending a fantastic rock formation inspired by the works of eccentric Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) landscape painter Wu Bin. In Asian art and culture the tiger, an earth symbol, compliments the dragon who is associated with water and sky. The two also represent matter and spirit.
Hardy has been fascinated with the visual aspect of tigers as a subject for art since getting an ascending tiger tattoo on his left forearm in 1966. Its pose was from the famous “crawling black panther” ubiquitous in American tattoo design sheets since the 1930s. It was originally copied from a 1934 book on mythology.
As his studies in Far Eastern art and culture deepened, Hardy discovered that the essential form of the crawling cat echoed designs on Tang Dynasty bronzes (618-907). The tiger as a primary trope in Hardy’s work appears countless times in paintings, drawings, tattoos, prints, and ceramics.
Climber has been printed in six colors from seven plates, in an edition of 30, on white Rives BFK paper, 40 x 26 inches.