oil on canvas, 81.5 x 96.5 cm
Harrison is an artist attracted to the day-to-day oddities that are often overlooked by most people. His paintings are populated by fantastical characters and wildlife placed in eerie, otherworldly settings. Taking traditional subjects of landscape and myth the artist creates magical tales that are relevant to our time and make strange our relationship to the natural world. Fairy tales have been an important influence in Harrison's work from Alice in Wonderland, The Master and Margarita and Gogol's short stories to British writers such as Cowper-Powis, Mervyn Peake and Henry Williamson. In all these stories, as in Harrison's paintings, the natural and supernatural go hand in hand.
Harrison's works are created on surfaces ranging from rough wooden panels to larger canvases and vary from intimate, naturalistic studies to elaborate compositions. They are unified by Harrison's approach, which combines the fantastical with the real, the magical with the everyday. His paintings often tell of man's impact on nature and of nature settling scores in elaborate twists of fortune. Surrounded by the dirt, detritus and blighted urban decay of humanity, his creatures inspire a sense of wonder and remain powerful witnesses to man's vanity and foolishness.
Central to Harrison's iconography are birds which, as the artist remarks, "prove their superiority over mankind, as we set about destroying the planet, they fly like jewel coloured fairy folk, amongst the debris of urban life, heralding sanctuary for the rest of nature to begin its clean up process. They make their home amongst us - from the spire of a gothic cathedral, under the eaves of an ancient cottage, or from the top of a giant skyscraper, amidst the shards of concrete, shooting up at jagged angles towards heaven - this is how fairy stories are born: from true magic mixed with the absurdities of life".
Exhibition: 22 March - 23 April 2005
Hours: Tu-Sa 10 am - 6 pm
Victoria Miro Gallery
16 Wharf Road
GB-London N1 7RW
Telephone +44 (0) 20 7336 8109
Fax +44 (0) 20 7251 5596