Rowena Harris

Augmented Triad Part 2, 2013

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Dimensions Variable


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Artwork
Description

Steel, Perspex, Colour Photocopy, Plaster, Resin, 80 x 95 x 60cm

Rowena Harris seeks to uncover relationships between parts, peoples and perspectives. There is an integral reliance upon the juxtaposition of the natural and the man made, while exploring the relationship between real and digital. Central to this is the use of a wide variety of synthetic materials, often integrating a human element within the work. Ultimately, the polychotomous structure of her sculptures provide a multi-perspectival interpretation, largely dependent upon the part-whole relationship as experienced by the viewer.

Augmented Triad Part 2 (2013) is composed of a multiplicity of manufactured materials. Arranged to create a visual narrative, a succession of steel rods help to draw the eye. A colour photocopy of an open palmed hand, overlaid with Perspex, and the partial imprint of a hand, in plaster, interrupting the flowing composition. This evocation of an X-ray suggests something medical about the work. Representing the anatomy of human relationships with technology and the changing perception of self in a distinctly digital environment. The image is also two-dimensional and lacks the penetrative element of an X-ray. In comparison the resin cast of the hand has a definite presence while simultaneously lacking the hand it represents. This contrast between the physical and digital is integral to Harris’ practice.

While the hands form a distinct human presence within the work they are ultimately synthetic. The work analyses the increasing reliance of the individual upon technology to conceptualise and understand his surroundings. The reliance on medical imagery creates a sterility enmeshed into modern cultural frameworks as an ideal and a driving force for technology. In many ways the medical imagery represents the human drive to escape the natural, by prolonging life in new and increasingly cybernetic ways.

About
the artist

Rowena Harris (b. 1985, Norfolk, UK) lives and works in London. She received a BA in Fine Art at University College Falmouth, UK and an MFA in Art Practice at Goldsmiths College, London. In 2014 she won the Sainsbury’s Scholarship for The British School in Rome where she is currently working.

Rowena Harris is a multi-disciplinary artist. She uses materiality to instigate an exploration of the relationship between individuals and concrete artefacts, in an increasingly digitised environment. There is a heavy importance placed upon communication with the viewer, using objects to create a utilitarian discourse, pertaining to everyday entities and their aesthetic value.

In constructing this aesthetic, Harris uses materials such as concrete, Perspex and resin, which are implacably utilitarian; synthetic symbols of the individual's ability to create, but also contain a perceived soullessness, devoid of natural meaning. However, Harris ensures the human is present in all her works; particularly through the representation of hands, symbolising man's innate propensity for creation and suggesting his synthetic creations are ultimately an extension of humanity, a projection of its social consciousness.

Harris’ practice centres upon human perception and furthermore encompasses the phenomenological self into her work. As a result the body becomes part of the composition and comments upon the fact that humanity is defined by its potential to create. As a result, the technological and the synthetic become an extension of the organic. This is enhanced by a sense of individuation, whereby there are several disparate elements connected together, thematically or physically. Digital elements often provide an accompaniment to this, exemplifying the way objects are appreciated, dependent upon the way in which they are encountered. It also suggests the increasing unification of the human in a technologically advancing world.

Harris’ work constitutes an exploration of a shared experience between humankind and its creations, but also highlights the nature of discrete external objects and their unification, facilitated by human perception. The artist's oeuvre exemplifies the way in which humanity is simultaneously unified by a utilitarian desire for progress and individuated by phenomenological experience.


Rowena Harris is a multi-disciplinary artist. She uses materiality to instigate an exploration of the relationship between individuals and concrete artefacts, in an increasingly digitised environment. There is a heavy importance placed upon communication with the viewer, using objects to create a utilitarian discourse, pertaining to everyday entities and their aesthetic value. Harris’ work constitutes an exploration of a shared experience between humankind and its creations, but also highlights the nature of discrete external objects and their unification, facilitated by human perception. The artist’s oeuvre exemplifies the way in which humanity is simultaneously unified by a utilitarian desire for progress and individuated by phenomenological experience.


Rowena Harris
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

December 8th, 2014 until
February 25th, 2015
Curated by Kirsty Ogg