Sean and Leslie Hartnett show new works at Southwest Point
After a two-year pandemic pause, Sean and Leslie Hartnett are once again opening their studios at Southwest Point to show their recent work. Sean’s organic, sensual sculpture in marble and onyx, and Leslie’s terracotta majolica reliefs adorn many homes on the island.
The couple have pursued their careers for many years, dividing their time between their studios on Block Island and in Pietrasanta, Italy. They went to Italy originally, 50 years ago, because of the marble quarries near Pietrasanta. Sean learned marble carving from the many expert artisans there.
While Block Island is their home, they spend winters working in Pietrasanta. Leslie began making terracotta reliefs in 1995, the year they began restoring the house they live in. The first one was a large wreath of chestnuts, lemons, and artichokes that still hangs above the door of the house in Italy. They both work all winter, then ship their work to Block Island.
A few years ago, Joe and Tricia Wiedenmayer came to Pietrasanta to make a documentary about Sean. Joe was a documentary filmmaker and since retiring has made many excellent films about artists and their work. The film about Sean can be seen on YouTube under Sean Hartnett Sculpture or on his website www.seanhartnett.com.
When the pandemic struck, Sean and Leslie were in Italy and weren’t able to return to Block Island until June. During the lockdown, Leslie painted still lifes of fruits and vegetables, then cooked them for their dinners. She decided to write the recipes of the dishes and make them into a book, “Eat the Paintings.” The next winter they stayed on Block Island and she painted again, this time with many of the foods from Block Island, making a second recipe book. The books and paintings will be for sale at the Open Studio, along with the sculptures and terracotta reliefs.