New Canadian Fiction – Bradley Harms
ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to announce the 3rd solo exhibition by gallery artist Bradley Harms. The exhibition runs from January 7th – January 30th, 2010. Calgary-based Bradley Harms creates optically sophisticated abstractions that juxtapose intricately patterned oblong or vertical fields with contrasting figured backgrounds or pseudo-frames. Interested in the cultural implications of digital technology, there are hints of the computer monitor or the plasma TV in his compositions. Such nods are emblematic of the larger phenomenon that he identifies as “the culture of the screen.” A master at implying technology, he is using an enduring medium that neatly sidesteps it. Technology is implicit in several ways. There is an exciting sense of spectacle engendered by his livid matrixes of vector-lines resembling raking beams of laser light. The light-beam illusion is furthered in the central section in The Truth where new colours are created at the points of intersection; for example, overlapping red and yellow rays (in the mathematical sense of ‘ray’) create a luscious incidental shade of orange. By contrast, the irregular “borders” are more regimented and less fluid, with several paintings edged by black and white bands suggestive of bar-codes or pinstriped mattress ticking. At times the border is used to separate the picture from the outside world. In other instances, the framing device implicates the world. Some of the works flip back and forth between these formal and conceptual propositions. The initial impression of Harms’s new paintings is of densely patterned central fields bounded with frame-like edges articulated in a contrasting pattern. Resembling wires and filaments, fibre-optical cables, mother-board circuitry or electrical wires, the marks could just as readily be likened to pieces of thread, ribbon fragments, tangles of yarn, woven or knitted fibres, a scatter of pins. A rare representational element can be seen in Freestyle Powerline, wherein a truncated, looping power line twists with unleashed energy on a white ground upon which are dispersed attenuated strips of colour and marks resembling iron-filings, dress-maker’s pins, fibres. Harms conjoins patterns with meticulously hand-rendered (necessarily imperfect) precision. Notable in this exhibition is the aforementioned optical reversals whereby Harms’s “borders” float up to the foreground and the central elements sink or retreat to the back. To perceive the flip, circle round to the side of the works with wrap-around painted edges. Just when you think you know what’s on top and what’s on bottom, the relationship reverses. Harms explains, “I’m suggesting that the planar space of the work is indefinite and alterable.” Expanding on the notion he adds, “This is a new kind of all-over, conceptually infinite painting where its physical size could almost be an arbitrary consideration.” Represented by Angell Gallery since 2006, Bradley Harms has been featured in galleries throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan. His work is included in such notable collections as: the Canada Council’s Artbank (Ottawa, ON), Alberta Foundation for the Arts (Edmonton, AB), the Glenbow Museum (Calgary, AB), the University of Western Sydney (Sydney, Australia), The Senvest Collection of New Canadian Art (Montreal, QC), the Bank of Montreal (Toronto, ON), the Nickle Arts Museum (Calgary, AB) and Tama Art University (Tokyo, Japan).