Artist StatementIn the past I found satisfaction in the creation of sculptures that looked at the world through the door of whimsy with jaundiced eye, finding foolishness in our structures, in hierarchies, and in our everyday lives. Ultimately, I came to see that my tilting at windmills was driven by an arrogance and unconscious effort to avoid confronting an intangible disturbance. Significant challenges in my personal life fostered a seeking of hidden truths in mundane objects. My studio became the therapist couch upon which my inward journey began. In a near meditative state I began to gather together disparate elements and treat them as sacred objects. Combined into a unified whole, they hold the glass darkly to reflect the fragile contingencies of my reality.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Seattle, Gard earned a B.A., B.A.Ed., and a B.F.A. from Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, studying with R. Allen Jensen, Larry Hansen, and Gene Vike.
While he was at Western, Gard's sculptures, conceptual at their core, were heavily influenced by the work of the Minimalist Movement and the sublime landscape of the Pacific Northwest. He was directly involved in the WWU Art Acquisition Committee. Generously funded by Virginia and Bagley Wright, the Art Acquisition Committee facilitated the campus acquisition and installation of large-scale outdoor works by Richard Sera, Mark Di Suvero, Anthony Caro, Nancy Holt, Tony Smith, Beverly Pepper, Robert Morris, Donald Judd, and others.
Gard earned his M.F.A. at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, studying with renowned steel sculptor and American Folk Art collector Michael Hall. While he was at Cranbrook Gard's sculptures maintained their conceptual spirit and tuned into the decaying industrial ambience of Detroit. He found meaning in rescuing large pieces of cast-off steel from scrap yards and arranging them in configurations that allowed components to move. He was also involved in the resurfacing and installation of works by Mark Di Suvero, Michael Hall, and Joseph Wesner.
Moving to Washington, D.C. Gard performed volunteer work for the International Sculpture Center and worked with the Maryland Institute College of Art. It was in this new environment that Gard's work demonstrated the influence of the Visionary and Folk Artists that he had been exposed to while studying with Michael Hall. Remaining conceptual in nature Gard's sculpture and installations tilted at the windmills of politics, war, and American Social Values.
With the upheaval of the dissolution of his long marriage, and the loss of the 1920 Baltimore City Fire Station that Gard had renovated into a home and studio, his work has become personal, solemn, and introspective.