Jeffrey Harris: Five Important Paintings (2020)
Described by Justin Paton in 2005 as “NZ art’s definitive explorer of emotional thresholds” (1) Jeffrey Harris has built worlds of visual fiction comprised of the dichotomy of opposites. What at first seems to be disconcertingly autobiographical, strange and unsettling in fact quickly declares itself to be universal and obsessively intimate as it then enters into the realms of mystery and fable.
Psychologically epic, “skewed and unsettling,” (2) containing a vast cast of characters, signs and symbols, replete with references and with no single reading, the five paintings comprising this exhibition are visual conversations between apparent event and emotion, between possible fact and thought. The narrative slips and slides back and forth, as the imagery irrupts, as probabilities emerge and intensify.
Each of these works is open and closed, confessing and denying, primitive and modern, personal and universal, dissonant and uncertain, and unforgettably revealing “a community of botched aspirations” (3) where the flawed are engaged in a ceaseless theatre of love and loss.
Each of these five paintings is accompanied by an essay from an art critic. Their willing contributions are noted with considerable gratitude, collectively standing as testimony to ‘the insistent potency of his work and the abiding impact of his images.’ (4)
The exhibition is accompanied by a digital catalogue. Each of these five paintings is accompanied by an essay from an art critic (David Eggleton, Andrew Paul Wood, Linda Tyler, Jim and Mary Barr, Lisa Wilkie).
- Justin Paton, Jeffrey Harris, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Victoria University Press, 2005 p.40
- Ibid, p.62
- Vincent O’Sullivan, Jeffrey Harris: Renaissance Days, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 2016 p.61
- Priscilla Pitts, Jeffrey Harris, DPAG, VUP, 2005 p.6