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Richard Harrison


Richard Harrison THIS EXHIBITION IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF BRIAN SEWELL 1931-2015

In spite of the serious illness that was soon to lead to his death, Brian afforded me the great honour of coming to my studio on Sunday 7th June 2015, and writing the following commentary. All of the paintings in this exhibition were seen by Brian that day. What the viewer has before him is a glimpse of Harrison at work today, his pictures big, bold, beautiful and threatening. He began thirty years ago as an abstract painter with a convincing interest in texture, not only of paint, but even of the canvas on which he painted, which he frequently burned or charred; in these, though they represented nothing, there was a mysterious link with the Rococo paintings of the eighteenth century. He then moved on through landscape and the figure to the subjects with which artists were content for half a millennium, from the Renaissance in Italy in the fifteenth century until the last years of the Victorian Olympus that flourished in England and Germany until the outbreak of the first World War, taken from the Bible and classical mythology. Now these narratives are less important – it is enough to reduce mankind to a symbolic figure struggling with abstract forces of man’s romantic imagination, or even to reduce the subject to the hostility of landscape. I was on Mount Etna in Sicily when it last erupted (as we knew it might) and knew perfectly well what must be done if one is to survive such a threatening circumstance; now, as then, no one who has felt his boots burning as he scrambles away from flowing lava needs an explanation of Harrison’s landscapes. They are of a primeval world much larger, wilder and more threatening than that familiar to our ever-increasing mankind now. Are Earth’s eruptions, whether of her caparison of ice or molten rock from her inner core, her protests against the impertinent interventions of the men and women who occupy her surface? In Harrison’s paintings I sense a fitting hopelessness at the thought of man’s futility when confronted with the world as we know it in this new century. With ease we can look back over the past ten thousand years or so at our early civilisations, superstitions and beliefs, but in the past hundred years we humans have changed the world beyond recognition, have urbanised it to accommodate our increasing numbers, reducing to almost nothing the habitats of other creatures. In another hundred years will there still be the lion and the polar bear, the whale and the elephant, the albatross and the vulture? Harrison looks back to the Classical and romantic past of western civilization all about us in our history, and forward to a new emptiness, a new beginning, the human race all but wiped out by a globe repelling against our ubiquity. In this there is hope that the few who survive to construct the new world from the old will remember the ruin brought about by man’s greedy thoughtless presence everywhere. It will be a mighty cleansing. We should see Harrison as a visionary prophet, young and formidable in mind, a painter of undiminished turbulent enquiry with all the advantages of practice, education, maturity and broad experience. Many may agree with this feeling for his work while disagreeing with my deeper interpretation. So be it. By all means see him only as a painter. Live with the marks and colours of his brush. Slowly become aware of words forming in your mind. Some of these words will be mine.

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1 Primodial oil, acrylic, collage & sand on canvas 180 x 121.5 cm (71 x 48 in)


2 Between the Trees oil & acrylic on linen 160 x 150 cm (63 x 59 in)


3 The Dark Rider oil, acrylic & pastel on linen 199.5 x 150 cm (78.5 x 59 in)


4 Terminus III oil on canvas on plywood panel 61 x 56 cm (24 x 22 in)


5 The Summit oil on canvas on plywood panel 61 x 56 cm (24 x 22 in)


6 Frozen Earth oil on linen 71 x 122 cm (28 x 48 in)


7 Deep Pool oil on linen 122 x 71 cm (48 x 28 in)


8 The Lookout oil & collage on hardboard panel 48 x 61 cm (19 x 24 in)


9 The Edge and Beyond oil & collage on hardboard panel 61 x 48 cm (24 x 19 in)


10 Misty Mountain oil on linen 152.5 x 183 cm (60 x 72 in)


11 Pinnacles oil on linen 180 x 150 cm (71 x 59 in)


12 Old Days Are Gone oil, acrylic, pastel & charcoal on linen 190 x 300 cm (75 x 118 in)


13 Way Out West oil on linen 183 x 152.5 cm (72 x 60 in)


14 The Sun’s Warm Glow oil on linen 183 x 152.5 cm (72 x 60 in)


15 Trimline oil, acrylic & collage on linen 122 x 152.5 cm (48 x 60 in)


16 Adrift oil on canvas 170 x 222 cm (67 x 87 in)


17 Molten oil on canvas on plywood panel 41.5 x 60 cm (16 x 23.5 in)


18 Once in a Blue Moon oil & collage on canvas on plywood panel 30 x 38.5 cm (12 x 15 in)


19 Furrows oil on canvas on plywood panel 38.5 x 51 cm (15 x 20 in)


20 Wave oil on canvas on plywood panel 48.5 x 36 cm (19 x 14 in)


21 Helgafell oil on linen 71 x 122 cm (28 x 48 in)


22 Earth oil on linen 76 x 71 cm (30 x 28 in)


1954 Born Liverpool, England Education 1973 - 1976 Trinity College, Cambridge, B.A. Honours in Medieval History 1981 - 1983 London College of Furniture, Diploma in Furniture Design 1984 - 1987 Chelsea School of Art, B.A. Honours Degree in Fine Art 1987 - 1988 Chelsea School of Art, M.A. Degree in Painting Selected Solo Exhibitions 2016

Albemarle Gallery, London

2015

Jay Whitney Brown Fine Art at CB1 Gallery Guest Space, Los Angeles

2013

“Sex, Lust, Death and The Maiden”, Albemarle Gallery, London

2011

Dea Orh Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

“Nothing Wasted” at Jamb, with Albemarle Gallery & Chenshia Museum

Chenshia Museum, Wuhan, China

2010

Albemarle Gallery, London

2008

Albemarle Gallery, London

2006

Albemarle Gallery, London

2003

Albemarle Gallery, London

2002

Albemarle Gallery, London

2001

Fun Factory Gallery, London

1997

Gallery 27, London

1993

Jill George Gallery, London

1990

Berkeley Square Gallery, London

Selected Group Exhibitions 2015

“British & Italian Painting”, Shine Artists, London

2015

“Grand Summer Exhibition”, Albemarle Gallery, London

2014

“Winter Collective”, Albemarle Gallery, London

2012

Korean International Art Fair, Seoul, South Korea with Albemarle Gallery

Art Busan, Busan, South Korea with Shine Artists

“Aqueous”, Albemarle Gallery, London

2011

Korean International Art Fair, Seoul, South Korea with Albemarle Gallery

“Summer Collective”, Albemarle Gallery, London

“Shine Artists”, Albemarle Gallery, London

2010

John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Korean International Art Fair, Seoul, South Korea with Albemarle Gallery


2009

Albemarle Gallery, London

2006

“10th Anniversary Show”, Albemarle Gallery

“Summer Show”, Albemarle Gallery

London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, London

2005

“Summer in the City”, Albemarle Gallery, London

2004

“Summer Show”, Albemarle Gallery, at Holman, Fenwick & Willan, London

London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, London

“Summer Exhibition”, Pontone Fine Art at Holman, Fenwick & Willan, London

2003

“Winter Show”, Albemarle Gallery, London

“New Year New Work”, Albemarle Gallery, London

“Made at Morley”, Morley Gallery, London

Morley Printmakers, St Bride’s Print Library, London

2001

“Network Art Exhibition”, Albemarle Gallery, London

1999

Metropolis Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

“Art for Youth”, Mall Galleries, London

1994

Manchester Art Fair, Jill George Gallery

1993

Chicago Art Fair, Berkeley Square Gallery

1992

William Mora Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

1991

Berkeley Square Gallery, London

1989

The Pomeroy Purdy Gallery, London

New English Art Club, Mall Galleries, London

Leicester Council Exhibition, England

Berkeley Square Gallery, London

“Britain's Painters”, Mall Galleries, London

1988

Kunsthaus Gallery, Augsburg, Germany

1987

Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Mall Galleries, London

“Young Masters” The Solomon Gallery, London

1985

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy of Arts, London

Public Collections Associated Newspapers Ltd. Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, London Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Unex Group Chenshia Museum, Wuhan, China Orb Estates, London Mirabaud Holdings, London Farhat Museum, Beirut, Lebanon


Š Albemarle Gallery MMXVI



Richard harrison