Artist: James Harrison
Exhibition title: we are all alive together
Venue: Feuilleton, Los Angeles, US
Date: March 28 – April 11, 2020
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Feuilleton, Los Angeles
Last summer I made a painting with the text ‘we are all alive together’ – pulled directly from the Instagram bio of Patti Smith. The phrase was resonant and in a rare moment whilst scrolling through a familiar feed, I paused – feeling as if here was something I could take with me. In the last month everything has changed; our perspective has been shifted by global events and open-ended phrases like this have absorbed an increasingly specific meaning and vitality.
The work has been made in private moments – at home, in the evening with my newborn son, or whilst walking for an hour at lunchtime. All is made from observation – be it a one-to-one visual engagement with a thing in the world or an observed thought or phrase, lodged in my head, acknowledged and repeated before making its rhythm visible as text on a page.
With subject matter drawn from everyday observations, these images of plants, trees, fabric patterns etc. all act as evidence: of gathering and observing one’s thoughts and feelings, of slowing down and observing how to draw upon the slight and overlooked.
In this exhibition, this constant, intimate, diaristic activity has been turned public, bringing with it all the anxieties and embarrassments of sharing private thoughts and feelings. Everything is now in question. The legitimacy of past practices will be scrutinized and it seems like a pairing down to the essentials is in order. We’re all going to ask ourselves what the role of art is now. What’s essential? What’s toxic? What’s superfluous? What feels vital at the moment is an attempt to make resonant, handmade images to be shared and exchanged with a spirit of generosity and communication. – James Harrison
James Harrison (b. 1984, Southampton, UK; lives in and works in Los Angeles) graduated from the RCA with an MA in painting in 2010. A selection of solo exhibitions includes: Some Trees, Marriott’s Way – Reepham, Norfolk (2017); ’And yes we must remain the wildhearted outsiders’ Supplement Gallery, London (2015). A selection of group exhibitions includes: Use Your Illusion, Herald St, London (2018); Black Light, Twelve Around One – Averard Hotel, London (2016); The Word, The Image and The Gun, tenpm, Copenhagen (2015); End of the Night Cafe (with Lucas Knipscher and Charles Mayton), Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles (2014).
Feuilleton is a domestic gallery space in Los Angeles, dedicated to showing works on paper. Currently open only by appointment, the exhibition can be visited online at Feuilleton’s website and Instagram.