Author Archives: Gabryel Harrison

Murawai week one

Murawai studio week one

standing against the wind

I am excited by a whole new palette here. The colors all shot through with light, though not so on this cloudy day. As I begin my exploration the entry point seems to be through the sea and its changing atmosphere. I love to walk the beach in all weather. I am thinking about edges…those distinct and those lost. Edges of the internal as well as the external landscapes. I am looking at the lines lost as sea and sky dissolve into each other, those shapes defined by their shadows as our aliveness is shaped by the ever-present shadow of loss. I am looking at the dark shapes of the dunes given weight by the lightness of the sage- silver shimmer of beach grass ever-shifting. I look at and cradle in my hand transparent pearlescent shells, halfmoon slivers like the castoff scales of water gods, metallic black sand, weathered warm greys and more silver of driftwood, the volcanic looking charred remnants of beach fires.

All these edges, these studies in contrast, lead me naturally to the ultimate edge and its borderlands, the territory of life and death. Like the sides of a coin, we cannot separate life from death. Death is always in our midst. In the week since I have been working in this New Zealand studio, two souls within my extended family have left this world. Two funerals have been held. Though I have never met either of these men, their sudden leaving is deeply felt. The disturbance of death always asks of us the living, to examine and to re-order our life. It is through great loss and suffering we can find ourselves destroyed or through the struggle find a way to transform our heart into something wider, deeper, more full with empathy and compassion. To accept the pain of loss without rejection, to allow ourselves to become intimate with death is to give oneself the greatest possibility for intimacy and vitality in life.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death’s note wants to climb over—
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke

at the edge of the world



Murawai 2019

Awe inspiring length of black sand stretching as far as the eye can see or the willing feet walk. Kite surfers, body surfers bathers and board surfers. Many walk and enjoy the endless roll of the surf. The sun heats the iron in the black sand, the warmth penetrates or burns the soles of your feet on the landward edge by the dunes.

So many greens! I was curious about my selection of paint before I left Vancouver, why I asked myself, was I bringing so many tubes of greens? Many I had never used before.

I am inside Lorca’s green morning

feasting eyes, my heart leaping greenly

unpeeled green

How many shades of green? asks my heart


as the underground spring

spilling into the garden

Artist Residency

I am excited to say that I have been accepted for a month-long artist residency in New Zealand, this March 2019. As I near the mid-point of my 60th year, I feel a bit like our native salmon who instinctually navigate themselves to the stream of their birth years after swimming in a wide and faraway sea. My intention is to relax into the land of my beginnings, to feel the currents of air and water that first entered my being. Given a studio in which to experiment and explore, how might these influences inform my work?

I will be posting on my blog now and then. If you wish to share a glimpse into my adventure, I invite you to check my website, go to “blog” and follow along.

Earthskin Muriwai is a sanctuary of simplicity and silence,
amidst nature – where during creative exploration we can
move beyond the self to a deeper consciousness.

This is a place where the sacred blending of human and nature connect and has the opportunity to be re-cognised.
This place allows deep quiet and immersion, the land becomes the True Teacher.

Awaken each day and go on

Road to essence-years of accumulated paint on the crossbar of my easel


When discouraged, and in need of strength and support to go on, I do as Lawrence Carroll has said, I” just look back over my shoulder at the example of Giorgio Morandi”. I am forever inspired by this extraordinary painter’s devotion to seeing, his persistence in painting ever deeper, as he has said: “into the essence of things”. To work every day, to bring everything one has to the task you have set yourself though one fails, again and again, this is the only wholehearted path. Morandi once said to a reporter, pointing to a thick, dried crust of waste pigment; “Here are most of my paintings”. In the recognition of the necessity of failure, I find the courage to continue to risk, to risk more. In risking failure, I acknowledge this accumulation of scrapes and scars, this misstep and stumble is the invaluable gained experience necessary to develop resilience, empathy, growth and eventual success. Again I quote Lawrence Carroll:

“One of the greatest gifts and lessons given us when we walk into (Morandi’s) world and look at the paintings he made is for the young artist to know that one does not need to abandon oneself. One does not need to follow fashion into the ditch and awaken with nothing one can hold and call his own. One simply needs to trust deeply what one has and to hold this closely and nurture it, whatever it may be. And to simply awaken each day and go on, and to not always question every move one makes and to not always look for answers in all you do, as the answers will come over time”.


Marking the Infinite-Visions of Wonder

Angelina Pwerle, “Bush Plum” (2013) (all images courtesy of Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, New Orleans, and the artists)

Visiting the Museum of Anthropology to see these remarkable paintings by some of the leading  Aboriginal women artists of Australia, was a revelation. To be in the experience of these magical works gave me a feeling of aliveness and expansiveness, connecting me to a universe of truths far beyond my fragile concerns.

The paintings are composed of traditional abstract mark marking denoting nature, spirits, and a disappearing way of life lived in relation to the cosmos. Angelina Pwerle”s “Bush Plum”, captivated and enthralled me. I loved her precision and meditative repetition of marks, meticulous and singular, yet varied in size and color that are placed with an organic, flowing, intuitive gesture that vibrates with an incandescent energy opening like a portal into the infinite. Her inspiration is a tiny flower, the Bush Plum of the title, which blooms in the red sands of the desert. These infinitely subtle variations of dots constellate the canvas like a night sky, waves of the sea or the wave’s traces left in sands. This abstraction of the tiny white flower creates a canvas of great depth and power. I sat for a long time in front of Angelina Pwerle’s “Bush Plum”, as well as the other paintings she had in the show. I feel I have taken with me its presence of stillness and absorbed its sensation of continuous movement, the ongoingness of time and beauty. I am reminded of Agnes Martin: “When I think of art, I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life”.

The Canadian writer Shawna Lemay, in her blog (which is of great inspiration to me), quotes Glen Gould in a post she writes about poetry, though equally applies to the art of these paintings: The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline, but a gradual lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.”

In these paintings, I found  a lyricism and rigor that recalls other contemporary artists like Agnes Martin, Vija Celmins and of course the obsessive dots of  Yayoi Kusama.

Marking The Infinite” continues on at MOA until March 31st, 2019.




French Suite, 11×14

Dear Friends

As the year draws down to embers, I sit in the warmth of my studio fire and reflect on the gratitude I feel for each of those known and unknown connections to people such as yourselves that have been part of making this year rich with opportunities and growth. The myth of the lone artist is just that, a myth. I may experience solitude in the studio, but without the myriad sources of support with which I am gifted, the work would not find its life and place in the world. Thank you.

Wishing you and your loved ones a winter holiday season of warmth, light, creativity and peace.

Please join me in an afternoon of celebration December 15th, in the iconic Parker St Studios. I have some paintings on offer, including French Suite seen above, along with a select group of artists curated by Sarah Dobbs of the gallery Parker Projects.

The gallery is open Wed – Sat 12 noon to 6pm or by appointment, call Sarah at 604 254 8743.

See details of Saturday’s Salon the 15th December below.

December at Parker Projects is a celebration appealing to your senses.

Saturday December 15
2pm to 6pm
Come celebrate the season with us –
a feast for your eyes, ears and taste buds.

Escape the mayhem of downtown to reflect, relax and have fun with live performances, fine art, and a warm drink and baked goods. Everyone is welcome!

2:00 – 3:30 Jazz Guitar Duo
Alex Flock and Daniel Favell are two versatile guitarists who have cut their teeth on music ranging from funk to punk, from rock to Bach, and more than a little bit of jazz.

4:00 – 5:00 Reading/Performance
Nick Pound will read two pieces of Christmas Folklore:
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and
Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause (1897 editorial)

Festive drinks and food will be served.
We are accepting donations and any profits will directly provide art supplies for refugee children’s art programs at Immigrant Settlement Services – a program taught by Harem Jamal.
December 6th to December 22nd
Feast your eyes on an eclectic selection of artworks ranging from mixed media to painting to photography to kinetic sculpture. Featured artists include Nancy Boyd, Gabryel Harrison, Harem Jamal, Brenda Spielmann, Doug Taylor, and Michal Tkachenko.

If you wish to view or purchase new paintings in Vancouver you can also find my work at Vancouver Art Gallery Rental and Sales;

or Gild and Co.

Autumn News

Successful Auckland Exhibition

Catalogue for “Four Seasons”
I am excited to share with you the online version of this handsome catalog printed by my Auckland gallery, International Art Center, in conjunction with my very successful solo show “Four Seasons.” For those of you who might want to gain further insight into my floral work, this catalog includes writings which provide an overview of some common, historical and universal themes I continue to explore in the genre.

Please consider supporting SPLASH Art Auction for the benefit of young creators
I’m thrilled to have my work included in a strong roster of artists in support of Arts Umbrella’s excellent art programs for children at the Splash Art Auction which takes place October 13/ 2018 at Vancouver’s Fairmont Hotel. I have been contributing for a dozen years and each time look forward to witnessing the amazing performances these young artists gift us on the night. The training and the love they receive from the fantastic instructors and administrators at Arts Umbrella is unaccountably valuable. I am proud to be a supporter.

Tickets are sold out, which is great news, but there is a waitlist being taken and it’s possible to make absentee bids.

“Passionate Chorus” at Splash Art Auction

Finally and importantly, I am excited to invite you to view a new collection of paintings!

Please join us on Thursday, October 18th from 5-8pm to celebrate the launch of work by Gabryel Harrison. There will be live jazz and cocktails.

Owned and exquisitely curated by Bonnie Wilson, Gild &Co is a welcoming new environment to showcase my florals and landscapes.

Summer Salon and Sale

Dear friends

as mentioned in my “letter from the studio” sent out in December of 2017, I am following up with an invitation to join me at a Summer Salon and sale June 23rd, 2-6pm.

The studio of artist and friend Christian Nicolay will also be open for viewing. As a thank you to all those who support me in myriad different ways to bring my work to the world, I look forward to hosting you and your guest/s  for an afternoon of food, drink, and live jazz in my studio environment. To acknowledge this deep appreciation of you and the gift of this support, my work will be available for sale at a “friends and family” cost for this day.

I will be giving a portion of all proceeds to my newly created bursary: “EdgeStates Gift”. It will be awarded annually to a person experiencing a challenge, life crisis or an opportunity to take a creative leap who would benefit from a financial gift. In the joy of giving and in the gratitude for all I have received, EdgeStates Gift is meant to benefit one other as I have so many times been gifted in the course of life’s journey.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the fabulous talent of Vancouver musicians Dave Mergens on sax with Max Zipursky, (“one of Vancouver’s edgiest pianists”). They, with friends, will play unique takes on old jazz standards, hip-hop, and soul as well as original material. Please see videos below.

Please RSVP on my follow up evite

warmly, Gabryel

Winter Sale and Open Studio

invite_gabryel-harrison_2016_gabryelYou are invited! Please join me in my studio,

Sunday December 4th, 2-6pm 7520 Balaclava St. Vancouver B.C.

My open studio event has become an exciting winter holiday tradition. Each year I open for a few hours to celebrate my friends, family and supporters with a small exhibition of eclectic work curated from the year’s studies, experiments and explorations.

I welcome this opportunity to present works in a very different scale and to play with poetic texts and collage as well as my more well known floral motifs. I conceive these paintings as petite meditations, bringing surprises to the color palette and continuing to introduce small studies of the landscape inspired by my riverside location. For a modest cost, I am also offering you the chance to purchase a limited edition woodblock print.

You will be treated to amazing live jazz with the Max Zipursky Trio,  inspired food, wine and the pleasures of meeting and mingling with great people in the warmth of a room heated by a wood fire.

This year I am delighted to share that I am pledging 10% of all sales to support Rebecca Bligh in her igolu Global Leadership journey to Ethiopia. This is an amazing initiative of leadership development and will be a fully facilitated training for 325 government officials, community leaders and teachers in communities throughout Ethiopia to empower and elevate the education system. Rebecca will be in attendance to answer your questions, or you can go to for more information.

I look forward to seeing you

warmly, Gabryel

For those of you who cannot attend, I wish you a great holiday with your friends and family. May it be peaceful and reflect brightly, the values of oneness and harmony.