Rowena Harris

Extend/Compress Part 2, 2013

Uncategorized

Dimensions Variable


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Artwork
Description

Cement, Chewing Gum, Dimensions Variable (Shirt 30 x 18 x 11cm, Button 3 x 3 x 1cm)

Rowena Harris explores the relationship between the perceptions of tangible things. In Extend/Compress Part 2 (2013) she presents a sculpture, which looks at the interaction between individual and entity and the way this perception changes with perspectival shifts.

There is a strong emphasis imposed upon physicality as embodied in the shirt, which appears to have been petrified. This immediately gives an impression of permanence and becomes a direct reference to the external human experience and the perception of extended reality. The shirt appears ready to be worn, fresh from the shelf and provides a narrative provoking a sense of fossilisation and evoking a commentary on evolution, changing perceptions, and the value of physical technologies. The shirt, as a symbol of man’s fall from paradise and the advent of pride, creates a sense of longing to cover the natural and hide it behind technological advancement.

Accompanying the shirt is a concrete button, affixed to masticated chewing gum that provides a real human presence in the work. It is the product of a digestive action, dictating life. The chewing gum as a material is falsely organic, with its globular homogeneity and its rippled, encephalic appearance. It adheres to the concrete button, providing a mount for the artificial. However, ultimately the chewing gum is also synthetic and indigestible. This represents the falsity of humanity’s natural character; which has created everything unnatural and is an extension of the human psyche.

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