We feature the works of Canterbury painter Rebecca Harris this month. She has a masters with distinction in painting from Ilam School of Fine Arts at Canterbury University, and an Art and Design degree from Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). She has exhibited throughout New Zealand. She has been selected for the Wallace Art Awards and various other awards; her work has been featured in major art collections. In 2014 she went to New York on the The Ethel Susan Jones scholarship from Ilam School of Fine Arts.
Here is the artist in her own words.
The natural world and otherness
My paintings reconsider the natural world and our belief in Nature as a symbol or metaphor for regeneration and beauty. Charles Baudelaire – We can call beautiful only that which suggests the ideal order; supra terrestrial, harmonious and logical that bears within itself, like the brand of an original sin, the drop of poison, the rogue element of incoherence, the grain of sand that will foul up the entire system.
Following on from this I have been exploring the concept of biomorphism, adding a sense of otherness into a landscape. My work is concerned with the natural world and the relationships of objects within it.
Colour: harmony and discord
I tend to use colour as a sort of mood setter for my work.
Discordant Symbolist colour harmonies of pinks and greens act as subtle reminders of an abyss between reality and imagination.
I paint mainly in oil on panel and combine a variety of painting processes. Techniques include wipeout, scumbling, brush line work and frottage.
Rebecca was interviewed by her mother, Frankie McMillan, at takahē – where she spoke about growing up in the bush without electricity, climate change, erotic and circular imagery, the play between dark and light and much, much more. Readers can find the full interview at takahē magazine.
More of Rebecca Harris’s work can be found on her Chambers Art Gallery page.