Los Angeles-based, British painter James Harrison works from observation and instinct to make sensitive, straightforward paintings which revolve around language, repetition, and nature. Depicted motifs are drawn directly from his own personal experience and the phrases that enter his work are known to come from song lyrics or meditative thoughts. The repetition of the phrase becomes analogous to the all-over expansion of a given motif, almost as if they were facts or assertions plainly stated. But there is nothing plain about this work whose simplicity contains a rich, understated complexity. Compact washes and saturations of color are liable to bring to mind the immediacy of color field painting, while the dense and full, often floral imagery can be evocative of Joe Brainard’s paintings. The manifold negative spaces that dapple Harrison’s surfaces play a crucial role in generating the subtle tensions that animates his imagery. Touched by the lyrical vibrance of watercolor, his paintings are nevertheless deliberately constructed and deeply considered. And finally, free from calculation and strategy, they possess a directness and vulnerability that does not allow itself to be confused with naiveté. The openness of the work startles like a casual, but incisive, and thoroughly unexpected remark.
James Harrison (b. 1984, Southampton, UK; lives in and works in Los Angeles) graduated from the RCA with an MA in painting in 2010. A selection of solo exhibitions includes: we are all alive together, Feuilleton, Los Angeles (2020); Some Trees, Marriott's Way– Reepham, Norfolk (2017); ’And yes we must remain the wildhearted outsiders’ Supplement Gallery, London (2015). A selection of group exhibitions includes: (Nothing but) Flowers, Karma, New York (2020); Use Your Illusion, Herald St, London (2018); Black Light, Twelve Around One– Averard Hotel, London (2016); The Word, The Image and The Gun, tenpm, Copenhagen (2015).
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