Zach Harris’ meditative paintings have an illusionary character that both honour and obscure the art histories that they draw from.
Harris’ complex abstract forms demand deep, sensorial concentration. His use of repetition and internal frames create vibrations and rippling patterns; and the subdued browns and deep ochres of his work set Harris apart from the contemporary tendency towards bright, manufactured aesthetics. Since he can remember, Harris has been inspired by religious art. In his formative years, he frequently visited temples, chapels and museums where he developed a practice of ‘durational looking:’ Harris would spend as long as he could with a work of art, often revisiting works repeatedly.
- Solo show at David Kordansky, Los Angeles, 2019
- Solo show, Sunset Strips to Soul at Perrotin, Seoul, 2018
- Solo show, Purple Cloud at Perrotin, Paris, 2017
- Solo show, Must Chill at Feuer/Mesler Gallery, New York, 2015
- Solo show, Echo Parked In A No Vex Cave at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, 2013
This introspective obsession is reflected in his own mode of making by painting for long hours every day, and exploring the materiality of paint and wood through repetition. With infinite pictures within pictures made up of tiny rhythmic brushstrokes, along with large peculiar frames around his paintings made out of layers of hand-carved wood, Harris’ compositions fall into themselves, while their outward edges burst out.
Harris’ paintings are packed with art historical references: the gesture of the renaissance; the dampened hues of Post-War German painting; the intricate decoration of the arts and crafts movement; the shapes of Hilma Af Klint; the form of twentieth century abstraction; the repetition of Buddhist and Hindu mandalas; the painted frames of Islamic miniature painting; the carvings of Catholic altar pieces.
Through this over-saturation, Harris’ work transcends any singular reference point. Instead, it opens up a shared cross-cultural history of art and religion with its own rich, unusual visual language. Making space for contemplation that exists inside the gallery rather than the temple, mosque or church, Harris’ work is a gentle yet persistent ode to art history, spirituality, and the sublime.
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