This exhibition explores the work of senior contemporary Australian artist Brent Harris. Moving between figuration and abstraction, Harris deploys both humour and the grotesque to examine psychological subject matter and visualise his complex and contradictory feelings. Indeed, the exhibition title refers to Harris’ interest in sociologist Kurt H. Wolff’s notion of ‘surrender and catch’ as a process for self-analysis and as a method of working.
Addressing the experience of the body and desire, faith (and the question of what follows death), and childhood memories of porous familial relationships, Harris’ ambiguous forms derive from his use of the Surrealist technique of automatic drawing to access unconscious imagery. Working concurrently across painting, printmaking and drawing, Harris has developed a generative methodology, where each medium feeds the development of his art in unexpected ways.
Surrender & Catch showcases AGSA’s significant collection of Harris’ work, including the important gift of works by James Mollison AO and Vincent Langford. Augmented by loans from public and private collections, it charts a journey from The Stations (1989), Harris’ first major series exploring the death of his friends to AIDS, to his return to the subject in 2021. The exhibition emphasises the crosspollination of imagery and the development of forms in his printmaking, drawing and painting practice.
Co-presented with TarraWarra Museum of Art