Brent Harris, Rome No. 5 (Moses), 2009, charcoal and gouache on panel, 42 x 28cm

Brent Harris, Rome No. 5 (Moses), 2009, charcoal and gouache on panel, 42 x 28cm. Courtesy the artist and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

Harris is a painter who engages with a multitude of genres. His paintings use a cartoon-like aesthetic, often abstracted by cropping and magnifying. The paintings are at once humorous and confronting often displaying an overt sexuality over the canvas. His depth of art history knowledge sees his work reference surrealism and modernism. Overall, though, Harris’ exquisite skill as a colourist sees these varying forms bind together as a truly unique and ever evolving style and manner.

His latest body of work at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, continues this exploration of form and texture. A large suite of work makes up this stella exhibition. Justin Clemens says of the exhibition, in his catalogue essay, “a set of intuitive gestures in colour demands to be modelled; the modelling becomes an injunction to line; the lines transmogrify to a composition; the composition in turn becomes a new experiment with colours from which forms emerge as line is submerged; the forms suggest characters, scenes, narratives which never quite, to quote Paul Valéry, ‘vanish into meaning’; the scenes shift before they settle. For something to come, something has to go; something has to be surrendered in order for something to be embraced.”

These observations cement the reputation Harris has developed for himself as one of Australia’s foremost contemporary, abstract and colourist painters of unique and commanding talent. This is an exhibition not to be missed.

Installation shot, Tolarno Galleries

Installation view, Tolarno Galleries

The exhibition, at Tolarno Galleries, runs until 18 October – Level 4, 104 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, VIC

One Comment

  1. Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    They are quite small, but seem to have a power about them. They look all the same size and format in the gallery photo – a bit like a small poster or LCD screen turned on its side – easy to fit in the car, on a bus or by courier. This is basic art done in a quick manner – sort of small indirect statements.

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