As December draws close, a holiday tradition has been to thank all my friends and supporters with an afternoon of jazz, food and cheer at my studio. This year I am making a change and look to a new possibility, springtime of 2018, to offer this gathering of thanks. You are still welcomed to book a time with me for a personal studio visit during this season if you wish. A very big thank you to those who have supported my work over this and other years and I look forward to seeing you at a new date. Stay posted and Happy Holidays to everyone!
I have just returned from a short journey of renewal. Meditation practice with Roshi Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Centre, and gallery visits in the extraordinary light and space of Santa Fe New Mexico.
Returning to the moist spell of cedar forest and early darkness as we approach the holiday season, I sit with my laptop in front of my studio wood stove and watch flames crackle. So much to let go of. Everything is in transition, there is no escape. In these logs, I watch the released sunlight of beautiful summer days burn to ash, a century of growth giving off its heat so that I may be warmed. May we live generously.
I am reminded of one of the “Five Remembrances” in the Buddhist canon:
“My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand.”
In this world of increasing violence, chaos and greed, the simplest of gestures in this season of extravagance can be the richest gift. Do not underestimate the kindness of the heart, the generosity of spirit that freely given will brighten another soul’s day. Nothing needs to be wrapped, give of yourself, generously.
These paintings arose from a project of collaboration between myself and Chor Leoni, a renowned all male choir based in Vancouver B.C. At the invitation of Erick Lichte, Artistic Director, I was tasked with creating a work of art that would reveal the inspiration, reflect the devotion, and tell the stories that might make more evident the endless dedication of these men to each other, the choir and to their audiences at home and abroad.
I gave the men a few open-ended questions and invited them to answer by email, phone conversation or visit. These questions I felt might be useful as springboards but were meant to be discarded as necessary, simply signposts to begin to understand the story of each man’s wonderfully unique journey to singing in Chor Leoni. It was from these remarkably deep, heartfelt and insightful responses that i crafted the poem embedded in these paintings.
Winsor Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Gabryel Harrison. The exhibition entitled The Arc of Our Disappearance will run from May 28 through June 30, 2016. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, May 28, between 2 and 4 pm. The artist will be in attendance.
“Every flower has its own cosmology, its own relationship to the foliage, to the air around it”. -Jane Freilicher
About Gabryel Harrison
Gabryel Harrison was born in Tauranga, New Zealand in 1959. She works predominately in the medium of oil painting, but her body of work includes printmaking, texts, video and sculptural objects. She has had solo shows in Vancouver since 2007 at Winsor Gallery with solo shows in Auckland at The International Art Center. The artist received her BA with a Concentration in Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa.
The beauty in Harrison’s paintings is marred – but not diminished – by crude drips and slashes that move her oeuvre out of the realm of representation and into that of experience. This sensation is owed as much to her use of colour as it does to her energetic stroke. Swathes of soft pinks and lavenders, golds and creams, remind us that colour “is not something daubed onto a pre-existing shape, filling a form”: it has its own, phenomenological form that we experience both a retinal and bodily manner. “ (Excerpt from Heart Wide Open by Alex MF Quicho.)
Gabryel Harrison currently lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. Her work can be found in private collections across Canada, the US and abroad.
BY HANS ONGSANSOY
Once upon a time, this writer was invited to visit artist Gabryel Harrison’s
studio in the Southlands area of the city.
To have that opportunity with any artist is a cherished one, a chance to
experience the environment that directly informs the creative experience.
Alas, it’s a visit that has yet to be paid.
Luckily, there is our feature Portraits of an Artist, a weekly chat with
an artist who has a current exhibit in town. Harrison has such a show.
It’s titled All the Things I Never Said and opens tonight at the Winsor
Gallery (3025 Granville St.)…
Welcome. I am happy to share with you my updated website. A very big thank you to Mia, John and her team at Kits Media. They have been amazing and with their excellent work have brought my site to another level. I hope that you enjoy it’s new look and functionality. One of my new features is this blog, read on if you wish, and if you don’t, I invite you with one click to unsubscribe at any time.
Beginning is difficult. Making your mark on the white page, the blank canvas, taking the first step in the sand swept clean from your life’s last storm, each time we leave the known to embrace the unknown we are acting from the heart of courage.
Why blog I ask myself? Why now? Why go public with inner musings, why bring conversations left unsaid or expose revelations buried in the pages of my artist’s notebooks? Why does a painter choose words?
Curiosity. Fumbling with words like small consolations in my desire to understand; your curiosity and mine. Two of the most commonly asked questions I receive are, “How long did it take you to paint that?” and “Is there a story?” There is always a story, people hunger for story. It’s my intention in this blog to share with you some of the inspirations and challenges, some of the stories that connect unraveled threads in relation to my own rabbit holes, my reading, my studio practice, painting, poetry and the study of the dharma. Oh, and sometimes bees. I am intrigued with the alchemy of the hive and the creative power of bees. Why? Because passion is necessary and I am as passionate about bees as beauty, the beauty of language and paint and how we create, all of us. We are all creators, every day making our lives.
Which leads me to a story about a Hare, and how my blog comes to be using the tagline “How to Explain Pictures”.
A very long time ago…I was a young naïve student adrift in the art department of a university far from home, a bit like Dorothy, clearly lost and out of context, juggling an athletic scholarship with courses spoken in what was to me a foreign language, filled with words sounding more like speaking in tongues than a language meant to help me discern meaning in any given text, literary or visual. But there was one intriguing, shaman like figure that appeared and reappeared and continues to appear throughout my education and investigations beyond that faraway school. Joseph Beuys. I never understood a word at the time. Nothing the artist made of felt and fat, iron and beeswax made any sense to me at all, but I felt something. Something I knew I needed to keep my curiosity open, my senses alive to the mystery encoded in his performance, “How to explain pictures to a dead hare”.
The artist in his solo performance, (unless you count the hare) was being filmed and photographed as he moved through the space of the Schmela Gallery. On his right foot, attached to the sole, was a great clanging piece of iron, on his left foot, a felt sole. But why had Beuys covered his head with honey and gold leaf? Why was he cradling in his arms a dead hare with all the tenderness I had come to associate with slide after slide of gorgeous renaissance pietas punctuating the darkness of art history class? And what was he whispering to the dead hare. Who was listening?
For years, I have been listening to this mysterious piece from the echo it has formed in my own consciousness. It has offered me much. I am grateful to the artist Joseph Beuys who has challenged me and expanded my awareness. I am grateful to all those who are courageous enough to share a piece of their own journey.
Joseph Beuys was asking something of me and therefore of all of us, as well as giving back to us the knowledge of our innate inheritance as beings of spirit. Beuys was asking us to bring all of our senses of perception to an artwork, not just the organs of our sight, scent and touch, but also the inner organs of perception, our intuition, imagination, inspiration and above all, our heart. He was a person in tune with the unseen realms, in tune with the wild in nature and in us. He believed the task of art was to further develop the creative potential of all people, not just “artists”. He felt works of art could bring us closer to our feeling body and to our emotional intelligence. Beuys believed in the power of this kind of embodied intelligence to create a new future for humanity unbound from more rigid, linear and analytical thinking. Though his action, “How to explain pictures to a dead hare” was first performed in 1965, it remains relevant, evidenced by artists continuing to perform cover versions in our time.
So, it is begun. Like any work of art, the greatest of these being your own life, artistic expressions find their final form only after a great series of destructions. This blog will find its way failure by failure, arriving somewhere as yet unknown to me, only as I create over and over again.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Beuys: “Art enters into the person and the person enters into the work of art”.
As for the other question, “How long did it take you to paint that?” I leave it like Degas’ dancers, waiting in the wings.
I sincerely hope that you the reader, rich with your own stories, will find something here that holds meaning for you. You are part of a community including friends, family, artists, curators, collectors, educators, and various other creative, curious creatures. I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to comment, repost, tweet, pin or email me with questions
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Winsor Gallery is pleased to announce its participation at Art Toronto 2013. This year, the gallery will have a larger presence at the fair hosting two booths, (#634 and #638). A wide range of artists will be represented by the gallery at the Toronto international Art Fair, including the florals of Gabryel Harrison.
Founded in 2000, Art Toronto is one of the most successful fairs in North America. Art Toronto is held annually at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Canada’s top convention and trade-show facility located in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Building, Exhibit Hall A & B
255 Front Street West
OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Special Collector’s Preview 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Opening Night Preview 6:30pm to 10:00pm
PUBLIC HOURS Friday October 25th to Monday October 28th, 2013 Friday & Saturday – Noon to 8pm Sunday & Monday – Noon to 6pm