Brent Harris: Grotesquerie

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Brent Harris

2002/2023 Melbourne
Woodcut, printed in colours by John Loane, Viridian Press, Olinda
63.2 x 50.0 cm (image)
edition of 30 - $1500 each

This woodcut belongs to Brent Harris’s ‘Grotesquerie’ series, a large group of paintings, drawings and prints which the artist made between 2000 and 2008. The series deals with complex family dynamics and draws on figurative and biographical elements from Harris’s childhood. The female figure in this image depicts the Mother or Sister.

Harris decided to make this large woodcut using the ‘jigsaw’ technique, inspired by the great Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. To make the print Harris sawed a piece of wood into parts – printing the body, hair, and background, separately.

When Harris first made the print in 2002 he used a different colour palette. For this edition Harris returned to the wood blocks and printed the skin and hair in brown and green, thus emphasising the mask-like appearance of the figure’s hair.

The logic of the image suggests a dream, communicating an emotional truth through a strange juxtaposition of forms.

-      Maria Zagala, Curator of Brent Harris: Surrender & Catch