Bradley Harms – Total Confusion Fabulous
ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present Bradley Harms fourth solo exhibition, "Total Confusion Fabulous," in the West Gallery from September 29th to October 29th, 2011. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 29th from 6-9pm. An odd blend of self-criticality and laissez-faire permissiveness, Bradley Harms’ paintings come off as both rigorous and experimental at the same time. He translates a lot of knowledge about painting, Modernism and current contemporary society in all its theoretical complexity into visually mesmerizing works that are part lyrical fun, part personal artistic revelation, and also part savvy continuum of the legacy of twentieth century artistic culture. Kookiness too though is not only allowed into these works but revelled in, as Harms introduces text, “design-iness”, and pixel-like references to computer screens into his virtual-reality grids and atmospheres. Colors bump and bite each other, getting along and then suddenly seem to argue (but remain friends); and we can tell with a little effort that this is an artist for whom contradictions are strengths, and who feels that nothing is lost by admitting that. Blistering, electrical speed is applied with the slow hand of a classical landscape or portrait painter, and every possible prohibition is violated in the artist’s search to subvert the vocabulary of late Modernism. Stripes for instance have usually denoted high seriousness and the exclusion of comedy along with imagery; not to mention the use of tape: Harms dispenses with both simultaneously, in a manner whose freshness is undeniable, but also clearly intellectualized, thought through from the start. His choice of color scheme often veers toward the loud and uncompromisingly Op – but at the same time his technical choice to hand draw every line we see, slowing down his process to a proverbial crawl, does something weirdly appealing to this kind of abstraction: it personalizes it. Whereas the paint in most Op abstraction is often not even applied by the artist who thought the work up, Harms wants us to know and shows us that his own facture is essential to making his work more, and not less, machinelike, but in a way that somehow reconciles the standard dichotomy of man versus machine, and culture versus technology. His work symbolically constitutes a feeling machine and a structured, impeccable, and highly appealing mess. Represented by Angell Gallery since 2006, Bradley Harms has been featured in galleries throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan. His work is included in such notable collections as: the Canada Council’s Artbank (Ottawa, ON), Alberta Foundation for the Arts (Edmonton, AB), the Glenbow Museum (Calgary, AB), the University of Western Sydney (Sydney, Australia), The Senvest Collection of New Canadian Art (Montreal, QC), the Bank of Montreal (Toronto, ON), the Nickle Arts Museum (Calgary, AB) and Tama Art University (Tokyo, Japan).