The pilot: casualty of 1000 crashes

By Sasha Grishin

Stephen Harrison: Angels and Aeroplanes; Blood on the Wings, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, 19 Furneaux Street , Manuka.

The new exhibition of work by Stephen Harrison is characterized by a certain apocalyptic blackness.

The obsessive image throughout the exhibition is that of the pilot as a sacrificial victim. He is bloodied, crucified and apotheosized: a casualty of a thousand crashes.

This obsession with sacrificial death is never quite explained, it is an assumption, implicit in the title of the exhibition, Angels and Aeroplanes, Blood on theWings.

The wit and graphic humor we associate with Harrison 's work has been pushed somewhere to the background and in this exhibition he tackles a grand theme on the grand scale.

It was W.B Yeats who once proclaimed, "I know that I shall meet my fate, somewhere among the clouds above,"

Dead Pilot Pieta, in a challenging and provocative exhibition

and Harrison 's pilot in each of the 20 paintings and sculptures visits the circumstances of his death.

Aboriginal ancestral figures, angels and Michelangelo's sculptural giants all join Harrison 's pilot as lies dying.

Harrison and his curator, Dr. Elisabeth Findlay, need to be congratulated on presenting an exhibition, which is challenging and provocative.