Saturday, April 3, 2021 to Sunday, May 23, 2021
“Depicting the twisting, turning and then the stillness in pure nature, a curtain of leaves, light and darkness it gives me strength; I keep painting” Conley Harris
Laconia Gallery presents oil paintings and work on paper by Conley Harris. Mixing fiction, reality and self reflection, Harris’ paintings reference gatherings of plants, clusters of dense leaves and their fecundity found in overgrown gardens and nearby woodlands. Central to the paintings are conversations with lush plant growth, restless beauty and sensual colors and forms.
“My painting history is one of pursuing a range of ways to reflect my engagement with pure landscape. For several years, using representational imagery, I sought out New England forests and coastal wetlands for my paintings. Around 2008 I shifted from sight specific description to a visual language encompassing degrees of abstraction.”
“Longtime interests in landscape imagery filter through my pictorial concerns influenced by art history studies, living and painting in New England and many international travels across Europe and India.”
“In some sense I’m both an abstract and representational painter. Each painting glides back and forth between highly descriptive aspects and those reaching toward emotional and pictorial abstraction. Reductive shapes co-mingle with observed description and percolate as a framework for my emotional and painting responses. Radiant color and poetic sensibility prevail. Ever worried about climate change, trees dying, polluted ponds and rivers, my concerns make me push the paintings even harder.”
“The subject sources for some of my paintings are private gardens around greater Boston and Belfast ME. Many of the paintings are responses to a private roof garden filled with abundant plants and foliage. Sitting at the 7th floor level of a 1930’s building, the deck garden sits like a free standing trellised box sculpture stuffed with vines, bushes and flowers. Other sources I turn to include dramatic overviews of the Charles River.
“Several years ago at Harvard Art Museum I discovered handsome collections of 16thc-18thc Persian and Indian miniature paintings and drawings. Many filled with imaginary and otherworldly, flower gardens. And around that same time I started looking at medieval manuscripts, Flemish and Dutch paintings, British Arts and Crafts, all filled with garden subject matter. I loved studying that material; I wanted to live inside all those paintings.”
“Although I’m not an exhibiting Photographer per se taking photographs has been a vital part of my art practice. For me, taking photographs has been about the search, discovery and holding on to a vast world of experiences.”
“Since the early 1980’s travels have taken me to France, Yugoslavia, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Britain and the Indian subcontinent. These destinations and their cultures forever changed my way of thinking and seeing.”
“Nature never really stands still.”