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Abner Harris

Abner Harris grew up in eastern Massachusetts. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago receiving a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts in 1996. After leaving Chicago, Abner moved to the city of New York. In 1998 Abner moved to the United Kingdom where, at first, he lived west of London finding work, painting murals on moonwalks (bouncy castles) and as a model maker In Lego land. During the decade 1998·2008 Abner was showing his paintings regularly in pubs, dive bars, and galleries of London. In one bar, Camden, his work was featured in the film ‘Happy go Lucky’ by Mike Leigh. At The Foundry he exhibited in and co-organized an arts festival and appeared twice on ‘live from the Foundry on Resonance 104.4 FM. Around 2010 Abner began tracing his paintings with vector graphics. In 2011 he exhibited in the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 2015 he exhibited in the Moniker Art Fair in London. Coinciding with the Moniker show, a short film was made about Abner by Brazilian film maker, Matcelli D’Andrea.

Back when Abner was a kid, he used to walk all over the place. By the time he arrived at his destination he would always have collected a fist full of rubbish from the side of the road and made some sort of misguided contraption out of it. He was a doodler and defacer of classroom desks. While some grow out of this sort of thing he never did. He believes that is what art is about. Abner admits that he is no different than that old guy who’s still carving duck decoys or his wife who knits sweaters around trees. Painting however is more specific than a child’s playful creativity. So, it is necessary here to explain why he paints the things that he does. He has always been drawn to artwork with a fluid sense of motion and calligraphy from the English alphabet and alphabets of other languages. This writing, aside from the literal meaning, can tell a story with angles and swoops and stops. With his paintings, Abner has sought to tell little stories with the lines and shapes that make up more recognizable imagery, with a shape echoing a line or a color used for balance.

Today the world is in a state of flux. Demographically, meteorologically as well as technologically nothing seems immune to change and strong opinion. In times such as these it is tempting for artists to become partisan. Abner has always preferred to focus on the patterns and relationships born of such changing times in art as well as in life. He uses what he sees in the world allegorically when he does and roles are often shared or interchangeable. His subjects can be dreamlike and ambiguous but they obey his own laws of cause and effect, often in reaction to other recent paintings of his. For his purposes, a successful narrative is one in which he takes definable positions which can be seen from different perspectives. In other words, Abner would like to paint like a wise, open-minded historian, or a weak, ineffectual lawyer.


Available Artworks