February 15, 2008

Alfred Harris's shredded words

The paintings in Alfred Harris's third solo show at Froelick Gallery in Portland reference the poem "Drummer Hodge" by Thomas Hardy. The poem describes the informal burial of a young English soldier killed during the Boer Wars of colonial South Africa. Like the poem, Harris’s paintings are about dislocation and reassemblage. D.K. Row in The Oregonian says that the numerous cut-and-pasted sections that Harris uses in his collaged paintings suggest an affinity for printmaking techniques and a desire to push the limits of two-dimensionality. "He uses this technique in the Froelick show to create images of rangy, biomorphic shapes infused by a variety of colors that again attest to his brilliance in that regard. From a distance, some of the figures look like a group of swimming amoebas seen through a microscope, though a group never out of synchronization. Though he cuts and pastes different parts often in each work, Harris still achieves a kind of compositional unity, a musical symmetry in these surreal images that owe inspiration to the works of Paul Klee and Joan Miro." Read more.

"Alfred Harris: Drummer Hodge," Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR. Through March 5.

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