DERECK HARRIS
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Central to Harris' current research is an investigation of the similar and contrasting
ways recent painters use tropes of technological representation and abstraction to
critique seductive imagery. His study raises ethical and semiological questions.
What is the relationship between desire and unfulfilled promises of satisfaction in
the apprehension of a seductive image? What kind of questions arise when viewing
paintings of these images? For the past decade Harris has been interested in the
way our desires can be manipulated by the promise of satisfaction held out by an
image. He is also interested in the relationship between truth and banality in the
function of advertising, and how sign, image and text conflate to excite desire and
trigger the anticipation of promised satisfaction. This research has resulted (since
2000) in a focused body of paintings which reflects and comments on these
phenomena through the means of their production; that is, through celebratory
visual spectacle.

'Each [of the paintings)is as assertive but impenetrable as a vitrine. Many are like
aquariums with the figures pressed against the glass. The atmosphere is liquid,
with a certain tangible viscosity and an aquatic instability of light. The figures are
separate and of different substance but move within this molten environment, the
long fluid lines of their silhouettes sufficiently like those of the amorphous
background to indicate a shared buoyancy. The attenuation of limbs in sharp
recession suggests a physicality separate from our own. Glass is everywhere known
and not seen ... Behind the glass there is [another] separation, that between the
figures and the fluid disorganisation of the rest of the image. The technical
complexity of Harris' work is directed towards this partition, and the richness of his
handling underscores its importance [Extract from Ecstactic Void by Jane Lee in
Asral Smile, paintings 1998 - 2002 ISNB 0-948327-14-6 ]

A growing number of artists are interested in the ways that painting and other
image-based forms can assume and transform the iconography of
advertising/fashion/youth culture. Within American and British Pop Art a canonised
historic lineage exists which includes James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein,
Chuck Close, Richard Hamilton, Mel Ramos, Tom Wesselman, Ed Ruscha and, more
recently, Jack Goldstein, Jeff Koons, Richard Phillips and Richard Patterson. Their
paintings provide the starting point for the situation and context of Harris' work. The
'critical' starting point for these artists (and for those included in Harris' curatorial
project : 'The Dream of Putrefaction') is that of sourcing 'found' images and
re-materialising them in paint. In this way the painterly means of seduction can be
used, in dialogue with the appropriated popular culture imagery, to comment on, or
to critique, the visual evocation of desire. Harris believes it is impoertant when
discussing the critical construction of the paintings to distinguish between
'aestheticised' (painterly) seduction and images of human figures which are
constructed to effect a 'sexualised' seduction.
Dereck Harris

Selected Exhibitions:

Solo:

2004
Artist of the Day, Flowers Central, London. (selected by George Blacklock)

2002
Astral Smile, The Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts Trust, London. A publication was also produced to document paintings in the exhibition and
other works (1998-2002) with a text entitled ‘Ecstatic Void’ by Jane Lee

1994
Harriet Green Gallery, Soho, London

Group:

2007
The Dream of Putrefaction, Metropole Galleries, Folkstone (curated by Dereck Harris)
The Dream of Putrefaction, Fieldgate Gallery, East London (curated by Dereck Harris)
London Assembly, Academy of Beaux Arts, Brussels (Wimbledon & Camberwell Painting Staff, co-selected with Rebecca Fortnum)
2005
Pencil (a drawing show), Carter's Space, E London
For and From, Metropole Galleries, Folkstone, UK.(89 Artists showing Drawing, Curated by Peter Fillingham)
Drawing Two Hundred, The Drawing Room, Tannery Gallery, East London
2004
Small is Beautiful XXII, Flowers Central, London (including Basil Beattie/Boyd and Evans/Simon Callery/Bernard Cohen/……..Barry
Flanagen/David Hockney/Phillip King/Allen Jones
2002
Paradise Valley, LUCAD Gallery, Loughborough University (including: Dan Coombs/Martin Westwood/Dawn Mellor/Nicky Hobermann/Ian
Dawson/Colin Smith/Mark Wright)
2000
Drawing to Attention, AIAS Drawing Residency, Kloster Bentlage, Bentlage, Germany. (AIAS: Association of Independent Art Schools.) A
Suite of Lithographic prints resulting from this residency was shown at Geneva and at the Centre for Drawing at Wimbledon School of Art,
London. (To travel to Groningen, The Netherlands, and Florence, Italy.) A publication was issued documenting the above. Published by
AIAS ISBN: 90-75522-17-7

The Wreck of Hope, (The Friedrich Society) The Nunnery Gallery, London (Curated by: Edward Chell, Simon Morley, Nicholas Wyatt)
(Website: www.wreckofhope.com)