For 20 years Jane Harris has been using the ellipse as the recurring formal motif in her paintings and works on paper. This self-imposed limitation has paradoxically provided the means for a continuous research into the relationship of form, surface, colour and light within painting. Having the potential to be viewed simultaneously as two and three dimensional, these elliptical ornate forms emerge from a tightly controlled surface and the overall effect is seductive, yet restrained and each painting is imbued with an individual character and elusive presence.
This interplay between and within each painting is finely orchestrated through variations of the elliptical form, direction and scale of the brush strokes, tonal shifts and the dynamic qualities of the lustrous metallic colours. To appreciate fully the rewards of these paintings the viewer must experience them physically, perceiving at first hand the changes that occur through moving around the paintings and from the impact of changing light on their surfaces.
She sees her works on paper, whether graphite or watercolour, and now in her first print ‘The Parting’, as parallel and complementary investigations. She utilizes the surface properties of the particular paper she uses and seeks to draw attention to both the physicality of the forms and their optical qualities. Through her meticulous process she creates intense works with spatial, rhythmic and dynamic complexities.
In recent years she has placed an even stronger emphasis on the spatial and optical qualities in her work. Stimulated by her move to South West France in 2006, she has found renewed pleasure in observing the ever-changing relationships of surface, light, form and space.
Jane Harris exhibits extensively. Public space solo shows include Galerie d’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Valence, France (2009), Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2007), the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT USA (2006) and Southampton City Art Gallery UK (2001). She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Centre Nationale des Arts Plastique de France International Research Award (2010), Rootstein Hopkins Major Sabbatical Award (2004) and the Arts Foundation Painting Fellowship (1995). In the same year she was a prizewinner at the John Moores Painting Exhibition.
In 2010 she was shortlisted for the prestigious Wollaston Prize at the RA Summer Exhibition and in 2011/2012 she was included in the international exhibition ‘The Indiscipline of Painting’, held at TATE St Ives and the Mead Gallery, University of Warwick.
In November and December of 2011 Jane Harris was Artist in Residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Connecticut, USA and in June 2012 she will take up an Artist’s Residency in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Harris’ work is included in many public and private collections around the world including in the UK: the Arts Council Collection, Birmingham Musum and Art Gallery, Government Art Collection, Southampton City Art Gallery, and abroad: Colorado University Art Museum (USA), Rhode Island School of Design Museum (USA), FRAC Acquitaine, FRAC Limousin and Lieu d'Art et d'Action Contemporain (LAAC) de Dunkerque (France).