Brent Harris (Artist)

The other side #1

The other side #1 by Brent Harris

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From Helen Hughes’s catalogue essay at Tolarno: “In the oil painting the other side (2015–17), a cluster of bodies morphs into a backdrop mountain range thereby recalling an earlier 2014 painting also titled the other side, where a group of reclining male figures become the silhouetted mountainous backdrop against which another reclining male nude poses in the work’s foreground, suggesting a fractal-like continuity of figure-become-ground. And, in a series of photopolymer gravure/screen prints executed with master printmaker Trent Walter of Negative Press, again titled the other side (2016–17), ghoulish white faces emerge ever so faintly from smudges of black ink, before retreating again into darkness.

“What is the significance, then, of Harris’s evident skill as an image-maker? Of his special ability to render visible the in-between and the undecided? A clue can be found in the artist’s repeated use of the title ‘the other side’ for his paintings, prints and drawings. Alongside the themes of sex and death, the spiritual realm and the notion of transcendence are key subjects for Harris, who cites New Zealand modernist Colin McCahon and American abstract expressionist Barnett Newman as major influences on his work. Both McCahon and Newman addressed the spiritual, divine or sublime in their respectively figurative and abstract painting practices. Harris’s ‘other side’, by contrast, is always captured in a state of oscillation or transition. He has explained that, in his work, he tries to create the ‘sensation of being in a body ... The sensation is only ever forming/transforming, never whole.”

Title
The other side #1
Artist/creator
Production date
2016-2017
Medium
Photopolymer gravure with multiple screen printed layers
Dimensions
592 x 452 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Patricia Mason and Paul Walker, 2019
Accession no
2019/23/1
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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