Australian Art Collector, Undiscovered:
Although Stephen Harrison graduated from the Canberra School of Art 20 years ago and has held about 20 solo exhibitions in public art spaces cafes and private houses, he has not been picked up by a commercial gallery.
To say that there is something dark and gothic about Stephen Harrison's imagination would be a gross understatement. A simple list of titles of his exhibitions reads like titles in the horror section of the average suburban video store. They include: Screaming Red Dingo, Blood on the Wings, Angels and Aeroplanes, Nights of Wine and Steel, Mr. Kafka's Core and Shakespeare's Girls, The Blood Babies and The Gnarled Blackened Castles of the Golden City of Prague .
As you enter any of his exhibitions you are involved on a walk on the dark side of the human consciousness, where law and civilised behaviour have been removed and the wild libidinal urges of the id have been given free reign. In his work he hints at many levels of reality and, while there is a graphic narrative, there is no direct illustrative intent and the work may refer to many different realities and situations.
Harrison has not followed the mystical subtlety of his teacher, the Czech born artist Petr Herel, instead he has embarked on a journey into the surreal, with an appetite for ghoulish imagery. He has produced a number of striking sculptural assemblages, for example Dark city, with its sense of apocalyptic carnage within a general eschatological atmosphere. What I find disconcerting is that the artist seems to be enjoying the experience of violence and urban decay. In a recent exhibition in Canberra , in February 2007, he wrote, “the sculptures exhibited have a physicality of size and presence. They tell of cities gone mad, invaded and rotting, of aboriginal spirits and totem animals, and of dark houses with cathedrals embedded in their skulls. It's a pleasure!”
It is a particular gothic pleasure which is celebrated in the dark singular vision of Stephen Harrison.
Price range: works on paper $180 - $380; paintings $1,200 - $5,000; sculptures $450 - $1,800
Contact: stephenharrisonl56@hotmaI.com; website: http://harrison.soxkat.com