ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present NEIL HARRISON: NATURE, an exhibition of new paintings by this notable emerging artist. The shows runs in the east gallery from March 28 to April 26, 2014. An opening reception will be held on Friday, March 28, 6:00 to 9:00 PM. An exhibition by Vancouver-based painter Bradley Harms runs concurrently in the west gallery.
The enigmatic geometric abstractions of Neil Harrison both stem and depart from painting tradition. Geometric abstraction originated as the vocabulary of idealistic early European modernists such as Malevich, El Lissitzky and Mondrian, who sought to develop a new visual language that they believed would express universal values. In the 1960s, North American abstractionists separated painting from value systems to assert the primacy of formal values – in the oft-quotes words of painter Frank Stella, “What you see is what you see.”
Harrison’s work represents a postmodern stance, with ambiguity replacing these two extremes. Concerned with location, boundary, margin, and the engagement between form and space, in his new series, Nature, Harrison conflates line with volume to produce dynamic oppositions — simplicity and complexity, curvilinear and rectilinear, open and closed, and particular and whole.
Precisely rendered figures, held taut within a square, appear familiar, recalling corporate logos, scientific symbols or esoteric signs. Yet they remain unidentifiable — like signs appearing in the background of a dream. Simultaneously provoking and frustrating our curiosity, Harrison’s paintings demand repeated looking.
Neil Harrison, originally from Winnipeg, and now based in Toronto, holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Victoria, BC, and a Masters of Fine Art from York University, Toronto. Recent exhibitions include SuperAbstraction, Angell Gallery, Toronto; Fresh Paint/New Constructions, Art Mur in Montreal; Nine, Loop Gallery, Toronto; Openings, Special Projects Gallery, York University; Homecoming, Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, and Beers Contemporary, Kunst 13, Zurich, Switzerland. Harrison received an honorable mention in the 15th Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition in 2013.