Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Anne Harris on Painting an Experience of Aging

. . . You get older. . .  You're not looked at. I thought it would be
interesting to try to paint somehow that experience
[of being] really exposed but ... not looked at. . . .
~ Painter Anne Harris

In this short but fascinating talk with Blouin ArtInfo, the artist Anne Harris, who says she "really doesn't know" what she looks like, talks about a recent series of oil paintings in which she seeks to explore what happens to women, emotionally and physically, as they enter middle age. That she calls her work "self-portraits" makes the paintings all the more interesting. Especially evocative for me are the paintings and watercolors Harris labels with the descriptor "Invisible". 

This is challenging work, raising numerous questions about our perceptions of beauty, women's roles, others' and our own acceptance or denial of aging's effects on the body and mind, and how life and death maintain an unsettled and unsettling coexistence in our bodies. The portraits, which hide as much as they reveal, invite a deep conversation about what it means to look at ourselves, both to see and not see. 

Harris's paintings and a selection of Mylar drawings and pastels most recently appeared in the solo show "Phantasmatical: Self-Portraits" at Alexandre Gallery in New York City.

Selected Images of Artworks in "Phantasmatical"

Artwork Available and Works Exhibited at Alexandre Gallery


Hannah Stephenson said...

Beautiful, weird work. I love how comfortable and accessible she seems in discussing her paintings!

Anonymous said...

The loss of a youthful body. There are less people noticing. But, if one really wants attention, all they need to do is go through security at an airport. They will pat down anyone there.

Seriously, though, i relate with the fact that we are physically living and dying at the same time. As well, we are dying and living spiritually . Maybe they hit a point in mid-life as they pass one another that leave a person feel like they are coming and going at the same time.

Sharon Kingston said...


I've been thinking a lot lately about the invisibility of aging -- as a recipient of the gaze -- and at the same time how aging is making me ever so more aware of my body and its limitations and its degradation. There really is this point (I'm nearing 50 fast) in which this awareness occurs. Thanks for this post.