22 APRIL - 14 JUNE 2004
A new exhibition by renowned contemporary artist Brent Harris is on view at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 22 April until 14 June.
Inspired by fellow New Zealand artist Colin McCahon and Michelangelo's Pieta, Harris seeks to explore the visual and emotional realms of religious art in the human condition.
In strongly coloured paintings, Harris renders versions of the head of Christ. He paints globular shapes into facial features which shift between form and formlessness. In other paintings pared back muted tones contrast with characteristic drooping shapes of clear white.
Harris employs McCahon's work to question ideas about religious representation, tracing McCahon's trajectory, his individual quest for meaning beyond a traditional religious iconography. He draws upon Michelangelo's Pieta sculpture as a starting point, summoning the emotional response he had to this work upon seeing it at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Italy.
Through the exhibition Harris asks: "How do I use the enormous history of western religious art and Christian iconography as a starting point to produce new work, without calling forth questions of metaphysics and religious meaning".
Born in New Zealand, Harris came to Australia in 1981. He studied Fine Arts in Melbourne and his work is included in many Australian collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New south Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Harris' work has featured in groups show such as the Archibald Prize, Field Work: Australian Contemporary Art 1968-2002, Moet & Chandon Travelling Exhibition, John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize and Australia Perspecta. He has also had a number of solo shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
Brent Harris - The Face is a part of the Art Gallery of New South Wales' Contemporary Projects programme.