Anthony Harris

The Artist's work has always been motivated by nature - from microscopic to panoramic. His latest work has its essence in the Karoo and Richtersveld landscape, although it has no reference to specific place or time. Mankind or his flotsam is seldom represented. The Artist chooses marks and shapes that evoke a recollection of an object or a mood.

This he achieves through his own dialogue of subconscious and conscious action in painting. He does not work from specific visual references (photographs or insitu painting) but draws on subconscious experiences of nature - "we are what we allow ourselves to experience". Through the physical act of painting the Artist makes the subconscious, conscious.

Technically, the Artist uses oil on board. Oil paint, as Anthony says, "has organic qualities that do not exist in other mediums. Oil can be used and stretched to extreme visual representation". The use of board is also an integral part of the painting as he prepares the board to reflect the kind of surface he wants - from extremely smooth to textured undercoat, at times applying many layers of undercoat and gesso.

In applying the paint the Artist uses "anything that creates a visually stimulating mark or texture" (both implied and actual). This is in essence the content of the Artist's work. While the end result is perceived as a "landscape" the Artist's indulgence is the visual stimulation of the mark the medium makes...

As Marshall McLuhan says "the medium is the message...".

Mood is also an integral part of the work. This is achieved through the use of chiaroscuro (strong tonal contrast) and what the Artist calls "visual silence". The Artist describes "visual silence" in his work as an area where the eye can rest. The eye is naturally drawn to detail in the work and can be visually overindulged - the area of "visual silence" provides the eye the resting place the eye needs (this area is invariably the focal or secondary focal point of the work).

Anthony believes that the illusion of a landscape or a painting depicting objects' is secondary to the two-dimensional surface, the medium and the mark that the medium makes...

"The mark is the message..." Anthony Harris.

Mapping Series
The Artists new body of work explores the theme of Mapping. He juxtaposes topographical maps with symbols, objects and the landscape. The work conceptually explores land issues: social geography, political, culture and cultural identity.

"First was the land and last was the land. Always the land.Always."

"The desire to mark and socialise "space"; thereby making them "places" is a universal human urge. Southern Africa is a multiplex mosaic of cultural marks. The earliest evidence of land-scaping is the 2 million years of tradition of stone tools wrought from fine-grained rocks. Then is the 100,000 years of symbolically using and marking earth-ochre's. We have still more marks - San rock-art; Black farmers' stone walled towns, Khoe herders' trek routes and White settlers telephone poles. All these marks make imprints like contour lines on the land and betoken layers of relationships between inner mind-scapes and outer land-scapes."

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