John Hurrell – 18 December, 2015
The works on paper let Harrison revel in the properties of the medium. With the nudes the mottled ink splashes, puddles, feathery rivulets and chromatic tidal minglings provide a sense of restless liquid movement - while presenting the forms of torso and limbs propped up in space as a sort of watery map.
26 November 2015 - 19 December 2015
Sam Harrison’s waxed plaster sculptures are well known now, as are his (for me) extraordinary woodcuts, but this show allows us to see his Rodinesque inkwash studies of the human (female) form too. I tend to rhapsodise over anything this artist makes on paper, be that a complex ‘grainy’ woodcut, a charcoal drawing, or (as here) his fluid ink wash drawings.
His bronze or plaster sculptures of the human body make us think about this corporeal stuff we lug around with us. (Or should I say ‘us’? The Selves to which our bodies at times seem only coincidentally connected.) Like Jenny Saville or Lucien Freud he reminds us of the meat and bone we have as baggage.
And although his Untitled (Crawling Woman) has a highly unfortunate (and superficial) resemblance to the notorious Allen Jones Table (1969) - I wish Harrison had some men crawling about too - there are so few artists making images about our unclothed bodies that this activity has to be worthy. Most of us over forty avoid looking in the mirror, so there seems to be wisdom in looking at our own physical construction (its outer manifestation), examining what others easily see.
The works on paper let Harrison revel in the properties of the medium with an exuberence you don’t find in the plaster works. With the brushed on nudes the mottled ink splashes, puddles, feathery rivulets and chromatic tidal minglings provide a sense of restless liquid movement - while presenting the forms of torso and limbs propped up in space as a sort of watery map. So different from the hard shiny sculpture, their soft damp tactility, the holistic and amorphous lack of fine detail, the emphasis on dispersed substance - all make these fluid drawings compelling.
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