Painting can be a forcefield, a place with edges, finitude—even if what plays out within its borders is a kind of absurd, stuttering chaos. For Brent Harris, painting is a place to frame and momentarily circumscribe shifting psychological states and philosophical questions that threaten to overwhelm us at times. This is why their forms are inexhaustible, always requiring recombination, reassessment, another painting.
Harris chose the exhibition title “Monkey Business” (with its allusions to playful, mischievous, or even inappropriate behaviour) as an umbrella term that encapsulates divergent subject matter, allowing for more ambiguity and multiplicity of meaning than in some of his earlier series, such as a recent reworking of the orderly narrative of the fourteen Stations of the Cross.
– Helen Hughes, from the Monkey Business catalogue essay, 2022. Senior Lecturer, Art History, Theory and Curatorship, Monash University
Image: BRENT HARRIS Large Apron of Abuse 2022, oil on linen, 244 x 175 cm
The Stations 2021
Brent Harris is well known for haunting imagery that drifts between abstraction and figuration. For more than four decades, the artist has engaged in a sustained investigation into the human condition, producing paintings, prints and drawings that address universal themes such as intimacy, desire, spirituality, sexuality and mortality.
More than thirty years ago, Harris produced a series on the Stations of the Cross for which he received widespread critical acclaim as a young artist.
In 2020, Harris returned to the subject with The Stations 2021, a new body of work comprising 14 polymer gravure etchings with watercolour.
Each image size: 47.5 x 37.5 cm
Each sheet size: 71.5 x 56 cm
Edition of 20
Each sheet has been hand coloured with water colour, making each print unique.
The series was printed and editioned at Viridian Press, Benalla by John Loane.
This project was generously supported by Paul Walker and Patricia Mason.
Four new works
Tolarno Galleries is very pleased to present a suite of four new Brent Harris works in the Online Viewing Space in July 2020, direct from the studio.
Brent says, “These paintings have been worked on during the COVID-19 lockdowns. But really my studio practice is quite the same, as with most artists, we are used to working in isolation. The subjects of these panoramic pictures originates in the personal, before hopefully taking on relevance for the individual viewer.”
These previously unseen new works include two paintings, and two related works on paper.
Image: Brent Harris Imaginary Brother 2020, oil on linen, 92 x 73 cm
Works from 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres
Available Brent Harris works from the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres.
New paintings and prints are on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia 29 February to 8 June 2020.
Image: Brent Harris more 2019, oil on linen , 244 x 175 cm
A Backroom Project