Landscape, Place and Memory
The Attic Gallery, 26 High Street, Pinner, Middlesex HA5
3rd November and 5th – 8th November 2012
The images of landscape in this exhibition describe places once or many times visited. The terms place and memory refer to concepts which are used to interpret a landscape image.
Influenced in part, by 19th century Japanese graphic art and contemporary Chinese printmaking the marks found, for example, in the Viewpoint and Moor resemble the texture of lines and dots found in etchings, lithographs, woodblock prints and screen prints.
In contrast to the traditional landscape frame in Viewpoint and Moor, images such as Monument and Fjord, which form the series of four images titled Fragments, define shape more explicitly giving them the fragmentary appearance. They function both as self contained images with their own sense of mass, space and depth while simultaneously appearing as textural shapes, a concurrent sense of disjointedness and coherence.
The fragment is an appropriate visual equivalent and indicator of how a place is remembered and interpreted both personally and universally. For example, an image such as Monument I is based on a view of an ancient monument in Athens, a visual document which prompts my own memory of that visit. Often the process of recollection of a particular location is prompted by a reference point which, through association, allows other characteristics of that location to be recalled. The fragments in this exhibition are points of reference from my own experience.
Many of the images in the exhibition are without colour. This has allowed me to concentrate on the structure of the image. For example the arrangement of the image viewpoint highlights the structure which provides the sense of nearness and farness.
However Gateway and Park Piece, offer a painterly composition of colour, mark and texture to describe a viewpoint at Praa Sands in Cornwall and a corner of Pinner Memorial Park, Middlesex.
Other work, for example, Cathedral is rendered with an expressive line. Again this is a viewpoint of a particular place which explores image structure. Cathedral was made in the context of wider research into the work of the English 19th Century landscape painter Peter De Wint who depicted many viewpoints in Lincolnshire including the Cathedral and its setting.
The images of trees are examples of an ongoing project entitled Species of Trees influenced by the work of 18th Century English Landscape painter, Alexander Cozens.
In 1771 The Shape, Skeleton and Foliage of 32 Species of Trees for the use of Painting and Drawing was published by Cozens illustrating the visible character of various species of trees.
As the landscape images, the vocabulary of marks used to render the tree images in this exhibition are influenced by the Graphic Art of 19th Century Japan and contemporary China particularly where the marks are reminiscent of those found in woodblock prints, screen prints and lithographs.
Each image is based on the view of a particular tree. In this respect they could be interpreted as portraits as well as a feature of a landscape. For example Oak is based on an Oak tree situated in the grounds of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.
Magnolia and Scarlet Oak are based on trees in the Pinner Memorial Park, Pinner, Middlesex.
These drawings make space visible, the area around the tree, and also a sense of volume and mass. Similar to some of the landscape imagery the images appear as fragments taken out of context and out of the traditional pictorial frame whilst maintaining the formal elements of space and depth which form an image.
The tree images, presented as fragments, acknowledge Alexander Cozens work of classification by drawing attention to the shape and skeleton of particular tree species.
The two parts to this exhibition acknowledge my enduring interest in the depiction of landscape as well as recognising new strands which enrich this work.
Further information about my work can be found at www.axisweb.org/artist/davidharker
Faces of Health
An exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by David Harker at the Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town Health Centre, Kentish Town, London NW5
David Harker conceived the project of drawing and painting staff at the Kentish Town Health Centre in late summer 2011 and since last October he has been regularly visiting the Centre to photograph members of staff for this project. With these visual pieces of information as well as his recollections of each visit he returned to his studio to produce a series of line drawings and also paintings.
His exhibition Faces of Health developed in collaboration with the Free Space Gallery ( see www.freespacegallery.org ) is an exhibition which showcases some of this series of paintings and drawings David has produced since working on his portrait project. This project has allowed for the first time the staff to become actively involved in the arts programme that operates within the Health Centre. It has also enabled the artist to contextualize a new body of work and to develop his practice.
The project has also required the artist to explore new processes in the making of paintings and drawings. In contrast to his usual, more solitary working routine, David has been spending much more time with people. This project has required David to visit the centre regularly and this change of pace and tempo has changed the mood and tempo of his own work.
No visual reference is made within the paintings and drawings to the environment of the Health Centre but the work is united by its specific context both in its creation and display. By presenting the work in this way the Artist thought this an interesting contrast to the very specific association of the portraits. Throughout the project the progress of the works has been charted in an online diary
(See www.davidharker.wordpress.com ) which has functioned as a reference point for the artist. This diary has also been open to staff to view and comment on which has led to many discussions in the office about the project.
On each visit to the centre David has asked some staff members whether he could take their photograph as material for a drawing and painting. This has been relatively brief interactive process and the Artist knows little about those he photographs other than their name and perhaps their role at the Health Centre. David aimed through the process of drawing and painting to reveal more about those he has met and about his own practice.
Another aim of the project is to create a collective sense to the work. The Faces of Health exhibition is both a documentation of the project so far and a document of that collectiveness.
Within the context of the David’s practice the project has also highlighted aspects of the relationship between painting, photography, mark making/drawing and abstraction. In the Faces of Health Exhibition the drawings represent an important part of the project both as works in their own right but also as information for the paintings. The paintings themselves reveal evidence of the history of their making resulting in visceral and textural surfaces in contrast to the smooth surface of the photographic material on which they are based. In making these portraits the Artist has aimed to capture likeness and specific characteristics of the person portrayed.
This project has also highlighted the potential of the crossover of Art and Healthcare Environments. As well as proving an absorbing project for the Artist it has been a positive and interesting experience for the staff involved.
A catalogue will be produced for the exhibition which will contain a record so far of the work that has been produced and which forms part of the exhibition Faces of Health.
The aim is to continue with this project beyond the exhibition in April 2012 and to develop this portfolio of paintings and drawings. It is hoped that after the exhibition David will maintain his connection with the practice and continue his portraiture practice in this context.
Faces of Health
April 4th - June 4th
Open evening 19th April 6-9pm
Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town Health Centre, 2 Bartholomew Road, London, NW5 2BX
For further information please contact Melissa Hardwick at email@example.com or David Harker at firstname.lastname@example.org
My approach to my practice has been characterised by a continuing need to examine new subjects and working methods within the parameters of drawing and painting. This approach has driven the development of my practice as a whole. My exploration of portraiture is part of this strategy. Self portrait 2010 is an example of this. This work is influenced in part by 15th century Italian painting (see for example Alesso Baldovinetti about 1426-1499) and in particular the profile and often flat background colour.
Through drawing and painting my current work assesses our experience of landscape and implicitly is an attempt to re examine landscape painting as a genre.
Drawing primarily from an archive of photographs from locations once visited, depictions of peopleless coastal regions, rivers, fields and moorland are examined through the physical process of drawing and painting. Increasingly, man made structures are included, opening up an assessment of these interventions in terms of the characteristics of their landscape setting.
During the selection process decisions about scale, cropping, colouring and editing are taken to individualise each work and to underscore the fact that although derived from photography the work is drawing and painting.
Inherent in my work is identifying and exploiting the potential for a fusion of drawing and painting as i see it or alternatively making the differences clear. With this in mind the potential for encompassing a wider range of subjects is clear.
The following is an essay written by Cherry Smyth in 2004 as part of an exhibition of drawings at the Clerkenwell Green Association Gallery, London
Fields of Marks
The Work of David Harker by Cherry Smyth
The ripples on the beach and the veins in the rocks on the mountain
show the same signature. Thomas A. Clark, from Distance and Proximity
David Harker's intimate landscapes offer momentary visits to the countryside, inviting us elsewhere to re-experience the spaciousness and distance of our last long look at open space, at a horizon without buildings, without people. These are places of low drama, the gentle desolation of the Yorkshire moors or the Northumberland coast. David is drawn to landscapes where flat land runs into a vast sky or where grassy fields become pebbled beaches become a rippling sea.
Each intricate drawing, whether on canvas or paper, traces the change of matter, the interchange of elements: the erosion of a bank of marram grass; the crazy paving bed of an estuary; the upright marks of groynes; the floating dots of waves; the tinier signatures of cirrus cloud. Davids line, interconnecting the visual detail, shows a deeper relation of interconnectedness. The dynamism and flow of his unique alphabet evoke the daily movement of tides, of wind, of weathers. His mark-making resembles the fine texture of lines and dots that feature in etchings or lithographs, giving the effect of a negative or reversed image, where the white gaps take on their own abstracted language within the figurative field. His use of monochrome emphasises the structures hes selected to cohere the image, forcing the eye to perform the primeval act of orientating yourself. Our gaze grazes from a stretch of water to a hillock, follows the line of fence-posts, moves from an outcrop to a slope as if on a journey, near and far and back again.
The fields of marks, explains David, alter according to time and mood. The changes are very subtle like changes in a landscape. If I'm having a vulnerable day, everything tightens. I grew up in Lincolnshire and when I'm in a landscape, particular features - a shape, slope or surface catches my eye and comforts me and calms me down.
Inspired in part by 19th century Japanese Graphic Art and by contemporary Chinese printmakers like Yu Chengyou, David is also influenced by German painters: by Gerhard Richter's approach to landscape through photograph and memory and Anselm Kiefer's exploration of spatial landscapes.
By avoiding the fixed position and the seductiveness of colour, David creates a specific mood using the interplay between figurative outlines and the abstract shapes, which often take on textile patterns creating an embroidery of stitches. While most of the drawings and paintings concentrate on a distant horizon, David also explores treescapes, emphasising the vertical line. Against a busy geometry of branches, David foregrounds the bare tree trunks which seem to stand in for the human figure, so absent from the landscapes. Rooted, balanced and emerging from the marks on the ground, these trees articulate optimism and strength as well as an attentiveness that is hesitantly spiritual.
These drawings comfort without being sentimental, depicting a certain sought-for loneliness that is incredibly reassuring. Their remote views are both familiar and fresh, informed by and enriching a long tradition of landscape.
Cherry Smyth 2004
The following is an essay written by Curator and Writer Cherry Smyth for the Catalogue of the Florence Trust Summer Exhibition 2002. The extract relates to abstract paintings made during 2001/02 for example arc I and arc II 2002
There is a murky, drifting,dark horizon, counterbalanced by pale cloud. The surface is unstable, like the craquelure of an old master or the surface of a planet not yet inhabited. There is a primal sense of terrain before landscape, a pre verbal time before things were named. Light and dark have wrestled to some kind of equilibrium.
One of the most defining qualities of David Harker's paintings is their strong sense of emergence. Working within the language of abstraction, Harker has managed to create a robust emotional landscape that owes its debt to Antonio Tapies and Anselm Kiefer, in particular. While several of the paintings evoke monochrome landscapes, Harker is more interested in the idea of invented worlds, the sediments of something unseen, but experienced and in the role of painting itself. Location is important but it may not be geographical. Living in Spain for several months has persuaded its way into the texture and palette of his work.
Many of the works are made with poured paint and thinner on canvas which is laid flat, letting the oils and glaze interact and separate. Different densities are created with sand and acrylic. If the point of view shifts within the production of a work, the end result gives the spectator that dizzying sensation of being underwater, not knowing where the surface lies. Harker enjoys inverting scale, until its hard to know if we are looking at a micro or macrocosm. There is a sense of the disintegration of solidity as layers are built and scraped away and forms are created through the chemical process of materials colliding. This suspension in worldlessness is also incredibly liberating.
I accept that I'm working with materials and accept what happens with their interaction, rather than impose a vision. The more i work on the layers, the more i accept that a structure will take form. I search out my painterly space with form and void and the development, the growth of the painting drives my responses to it. In the end i reach a point in this internal journey where my ideas about how i look at things, my idea of the aesthetic and the search for something moving realises itself as a painting.
Some canvases have the texture of stretched skin, skin grafts, scars on the body or the earth itself. Others seem blistered, as though the surface has survived a fire and bears the signs of scorching. These alchemical traces forge Harker's distinctive and convincing vernacular. Although the paintings evince the sense of coming into being, their energy is not chaotic. Shape and structure are coherent throughout the series. That the paintings are trophies of survival endows them with a terrific optimism. Harker has dived into the wreck and come up with bold and stunning finds.
2002 Florence Trust Summer Exhibition Catalogue
Abstraction, Urban Environments, Architecture, Landscape, Geology, Aesthetics, Drawing and Representational painting
2012 Cill Rialaig Artist Residency, County Kerry, Ireland
2010 Oppenheim John Downes Memorial Award, London
2009 Arts Council Grants for the Arts Award
2007 Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Grant
2007 Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, New York see also www.axisweb.org/dialogue/davidharker
2004 Jerwood Drawing Prize, shortlisted
2005 Membership of Drawing Center Viewing Program; Drawing Center, New York ; www.drawingcenter.org viewing program and goto david harker
2003/04 Member of Clerkenwell Green Association and Clerkenwell Green Artists and Designers Network
2003 ACAVA Learn Skills Course Marketing, Publicity and Sponsorship
2001/02 Florence Trust Studios, Islington, London
2001 BA (Hons) Fine Art - University of Hertfordshire
2000 University of Granada, Andalucia, Spain
- 2014 Landscape, Islington Arts Factory, 2 Parkhurst Road, London
- 2013 Species of Trees, The Attic, High Street, Pinner
- 2012 Landscape, Place and Memory, The Attic Gallery, High Street, Pinner, Middlesex
- 2012 Paintings, Free Space Gallery, Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town, London NW5
- 2009 Wall Drawings, Westbourne Grove Church Artspace, Westbourne Grove, London (more info)
- 2006 Drawings, Seven Seven Contemporary Art, London Fields, London
- 2005 Drawings, Withers LLP, 16 Old Bailey, London
- 2004 Fields of Marks, Clerkenwell Green Association, London EC1
- 2003 Harding House Gallery, Lincoln
- 2002 Ft Gallery, Highbury, London
- 2000 Burgh House, Hampstead
- 1999 Barclaycard Head office, Northampton
- 2012 Group Exhibition, Large Glass, 392 Caledonian Road, London N1 1DN
- 2012 'Cabinet', Islington Arts Factory, Parkhurst Road, London
- 2012 Islington Arts Factory Summer Salon, Islington Arts Factory, 2 Parkhurst Road, London
- 2012 125 th Anniversary, James Wigg Practice, Kentish Town Health Centre, 2 Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town, London
- 2012 Free Space Collective, New Space Gallery, Kentish Town, London NW5
- 2012 The Duration of Surface, The Attic, High Street, Pinner, Middx
- 2012 February Art Fair, Islington Arts Factory, 2 Parkhurst Road, London N7 OSF
- 2011 Drawing Crowds ( www.drawingcrowds.co.uk ), The Stone Space, Leytonstone E11 1HG
- 2011 Incognito, St.James Schools, Kensington, Olympia, London
- 2011 Drawing Connections, Siena Art Institute, Siena, Italy
- 2011 Summer Exhibition, Free Space Gallery, Batholomew Road, Kentish Town, London NW5
- 2011 People and Portraiture, Oxford House Gallery, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG
- 2011 Postcard Exhibition, Transiberian Arts Centre see http://trans-siberianartscentre.blogspot.com/, Moscow-Bejiing
- 2010 Incognito, St.James Independent Schools, Kensington Olympia (more info)
- 2010 Open Exhibition, Cafe Gallery Projects, London (more info)
- 2010 Square up the Decade, druck dealer, Marktstrasse 102, Hamburg (more info)
- 2010 Artworks Open, Barbican Arts Group Trust, Artworks Project Space, 114 Blackhorse Lane, London (more info)
- 2009 Square up the Year, NO:ID Gallery ( www.noidgallery.net ), 31 Commercial Road, London E1 1LG
- 2009 Square up the Year, NO:ID Gallery, London (more info)
- 2009 Anima Mundi, Primo Piano Gallery, Lecce, Italy (more info)
- 2008 Miniatures, The Art Works Galleries, Newcastle
- 2008 Poole Drawing Open, The Study Gallery, Poole Centre for the Arts, Poole
- 2007 Postcards From The Edge, James Cohan Gallery, New York
- 2007 Group Exhibition and Art Auction, The Building Centre, Store Street, London W1
- 2007 Sefton Open, Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, Merseyside
- 2007 Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Open Exhibition, RBSA Gallery, St.Paul's Birmingham
- 2007 Group Exhibition, Rowley Gallery, Kensington Church Street, London W4
- 2006 Open Exhibition, Margaret Harvey Gallery, St.Albans
- 2006 Group Exhibition, Seven Seven Gallery, London Fields, London
- 2006 Group Exhibition, Menier Gallery, London
- 2006 Group Exhibition, Margaret Harvey Gallery, St.Albans
- 2005 Polish Art Foundation Drawing Biennale, Polish Art Foundation, Victoria, Australia
- 2004 Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London
- 2004 Eastern Open, Kings Lynn Art Centre, Kings Lynn
- 2004 Open Exhibition, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, Berkshire
- 2004 Candid Galleries, Candid Arts, Islington, London
- 2003 Fovea Gallery, Harrow, London
- 2003 Forea Gallery, Harrow, London
- 2003 first-art, South William Street, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
- 2002 Gallery gf2, Soho, London
- 2002 Glasgow Art Fair
- 2002 Florence Trust Summer Show, Florence Trust Studios, Highbury, London
- 2001 Art Fair, Battersea, London
- 2001 Florence Trust Studios, Highbury, London
- 2001 Beatrice Royal Gallery, Eastleigh, Hampshire
- 2001 Art and Design Gallery, Hertfordshire University
- 2000 Margaret Harvey Gallery, St Albans
- 1999 University College, Northampton
- 1997 Group Exhibition, Beldam Gallery, Brunel University, Uxbridge
- 2011 The Big Draw, Kentish Town Health Centre, Batholomew Road, Kentish Town, London NW5
- 2012 Artist Residency, The Cill Rialaig Project, Ballinskelligs, County Kerry, Ireland
- 2012 Portrait Project Artist Residency see www.davidharker.wordpress.com, Kentish Town Health Centre, Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town, London
- 2010 International Artists Residency, Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Almeria, Spain (more info)
- 2009 Artist in Residence (see http://davidharker.blogspot.com), The Collection, Danes Terrace, Lincoln (more info)
- 2000 Artist in Residence, University of Granada, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
- 2011 Contemporary Art Collection ( Purchase of Artwork), Kentish Town Health Centre, Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town
- 2013 Dandy Lion Arts, Crafts and Vintage, The Oxford, Kentish Town, London NW5
Competitions, prizes and awards
- 2012 Grant Award, The Eaton Fund for Artists, PO Box 172, Lewes BN7 9FF
- 2011 BP Portrait Award (longlisted - reached second round of selection process), National Gallery, London
- 2010 Oppenheim John Downes Memorial Awards, Oppenheim John Downes Memorial Trust, Broadway, Westminster, London SW1H OBL
- 2009 Arts Council Grants for the Arts Award, Arts Council England, London
- 2007 Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Awards, Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust, Westminster London SW1H OBL
- 2007 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York
- 2007 Drawing Center Viewing Program, Drawing Center, New York
- 2004 Jerwood Drawing Prize - Shortlisted, Jerwood Space, London
Educational experience - tertiary
- 2001 BA(Hons)Fine Art, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
- 2000 Printmaking, University of Granada, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
- 1987 BSc(Hons) Urban Land Economics, Sheffield Hallam University, Pond Street, Sheffield
- 2010 a-n magazine
- 2009 an (Artist Newsletter) Magazine, 'Snapshot' p.8
- 2013 Keats House Fair, Keats House, Ten Keats Grove, Hampstead
- 2012 Marketing Assistant, Create(Arts)Ltd, Salisbury House, London Wall, London EC2M 5QQ
- 2012 Radio Interview, Artists Lounge Arts Show, On Portraiture, Radio On FM, 101.4FM, 1 Lyric Square, Hammersmith
- 2012 Administrator, Islington Arts Factory, Parkhurst Road, Holloway, London
- 2012 Content Systems Management, www.wordpress.com, online
- 2011 Print Collection,, Smiths Row Gallery,, Bury St.Edmunds
- 2010 Open Studios, Harrow Open Studios, Harrow (more info)
- 2010 Radio Interview, XStream East Radio - at - http://www.blog.nquentinwoolf.com/?p=572, St.Georges Town Hall, 236 Cable Street, London E1 OBL
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