SANTA BARBARA, CA.- Edward Cella Art + Architecture
presents a solo exhibition of work by Bavaria based artist Mark Harrington. Entitled, Depth of Field, the exhibition presents new non-representational paintings, which are distinguished by their thickly layered surfaces organized in rhythmic bands of subtle, contrasting color. Inspired by the cinematographers term depth of field, that is to say the range of distance within a photograph or film image that is acceptably sharp, the exhibition presents a sequence of paintings which explores the dynamic visual relationship between the paintings physical surface and its illusionary, visual ground.
With a debt to fresco, Harrington imbeds multi-tonal veins of color into monochromatic fields through repeated insertions and reductions of paint. Using a minimal or reductive system of compressed layers of built-up and stripped-away paint, the artist controls what the eye perceives in terms of imagery. In doing so, Harrington establishes a dialogue between illusory bands of transparent, distressed color and the plastic, sculptural nature of his materials. Investigating the interaction of color and line, Harringtons large-scale abstractions focus on space, pictorial depth and light.
Although there are few overt signs of brushwork in Harringtons smooth surfaces there is evidence of the artists handiwork. Employing the workmanship inherent to the classical traditions of European painting, Harringtons paintings represent a contemporary reinterpretation of the aesthetics of modernist painting. Using a variety of self-made tools including combs and scrapers to create his paintings, Harringtons work captures distinctive signs of physical action. Of his paintings, the artist says, They may be analogous to aspects of the world and our experience, but are not evocative of conditions outside themselves. However, I want them to mean and to arouse a sense of resolve and upliftedness.
Although currently living in Bavaria, Harringtons West Coast heritage has been a strong cultural and aesthetic reference in his work. The artists work was featured most recently in a solo exhibition entitled, The Shadow- Line at the San Jose Museum of Art (2008), for which art historian Peter Selz wrote, At a time when abstract painting, indeed painting in general, seems on the wane, Harrington produces paintings that validate the perpetual human act of visual denotation
recalling John Cages musical compositions, [having] no beginning and no end, appearing like fragments of infinitude.
Other recent exhibitions include West Coast Painting at Galerie Biedermann in Munich (2006) and the Diözesanmuseum Freising in Southern Germany (2002). He has taught at academies of fine art and schools of design in England, Spain, and Norway between 1979 and 1999, and his work was included in the 2004 Norwegian Arctic Biennial.