Gabryel Harrison Painting Exhibition

After Every Winter, Soft Wind

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Artist Statement

 

“We never tire of flowers”, says Melissa Kwasney in her essay on the still life paintings of Morris Graves. (Earth Recitals, Essays on Image and Vision”)

I never tire of flowers. Like us, rooted in place in this year of isolation, yet they transcend gravity and burst with great strength from the tether of their roots to flower radiantly. In their last act of giving, their petaled final fall is to scatter new life, to seed the ground around them. Is it this? Is it a recognition that we too might rise from our global dark passage into a light of wider consciousness that informs my ongoing pictorial investigation into the allegory of the flower?
More importantly, it is the questioning. It is the being in, and painting from an attitude of unknowing that is of interest.

This new collection of oil and acrylic paintings are grounded in my earlier work with floral imagery yet informed by the experience of being in a new unknown, a territory of uncertainty, “all together in a sudden strangeness”. (Neruda) As the world shifted I felt disorientation simultaneous with feelings of liberation such as only a drastic change can afford. Like many, I was drawn to and sought the consolations of nature while recoginizing it is our presence that disturbs.
In these paintings I am celebrating the persistence of nature. I am describing my resonance with her processes of transformation and metamorphosis. I am revealing the powerful currents of connectivity and regeneration evident in all the plant world. I am remembering the power of nature to heal and to heal us in our interchange. In selected paintings I have used text to inform the image with the power of recitation or incantation. Like the old Herbals which sought to cure through the pairing of an ailment with a particular flower, the name itself, spoken aloud was thought to alleviate suffering. It is in our separation that we suffer and impose suffering. These paintings conceive connection.

In these paintings I hover on the edge of abstraction. I want to speak of the space between things, the becoming. They are open, airy, animated and gestural, they reflect my belief that like our floral emissaries of the wild, we too are resiliant, possessors of great strength and endurance. We too can change, transform and blossom.

Using variations of oil sticks, paint and mediums, scratches, scumbles and splatters of slung paint, I am inspired by instinct and intuition as much as intellect. I celebrate accident, inviting drips and smudges to evoke both decay and effulgence. In this way, the painting arrives as a “thing in itself” composed of the gesture containing its own making. I utilize deliberation and chance, thin washes and passages of impasto to arrange relations of color, value, calligraphic stroke and line into a feeling or memory, a pictorial composition more akin to the distillation of poetry than the descriptive lines of prose. I paint the moment in time and its passing.

Artist Bio 2021

Gabryel Harrison is a painter living and working in Vancouver. Harrison is well known for her large floral paintings which hover on the edge of painterly abstraction. Her preoccupation is how to use visual form/formlessness to depict intangible interior realities.

“Using variations of oil sticks, paint and mediums, scratches, scumbles and splatters of slung paint, I am inspired by instinct and intuition as much as intellect. I celebrate accident, inviting drips and smudges to evoke both decay and effulgence. In this way the painting arrives as a “thing in itself” composed of the gesture containing its own making. I utiliize deliberation and chance, thin washes and passages of impasto to arrange relations of color, value, calligraphic stroke and line into a feeling or memory, a pictorial composition more akin to the distillation of poetry than the descriptive lines of prose. I paint the moment in time and its passing. Like the Japanese phrase “mono no aware” meaning beauty tinged with sadness, I paint the flower and the death in the flower. I paint not to describe the flower but to feel my place in the stream.”

I offer these paintings in the midst of a world comprised of ever increasing speed and volatility as possibilities of quiet reflection. I invite the viewer to slow down, to be present. This simple engagement can be a radical act.

To quote Brice Marden: The rectangle, the plane, the structure the picture, are but sounding boards for a spirit. I always see the painting as a contemplative object”.