David Harrison: Second Nature opens 8 November with a reception for the artist from 18:00 to 21:00.
VW (VeneKlasen/Werner) is pleased to present Second Nature, an exhibition of works by London-based artist David Harrison. This is the artist's first solo exhibition in Germany and will feature an overview of paintings and sculptures made in the past several years of his career.
David Harrison is a painter of obsessions, chief among them the natural environment and man's impact on it. He was born into the post-World War II ruins of London, a fairytale-like cityscape of bombsites, derelict homes and vast green urban spaces overrun with nature. This strange convergence of destruction and regeneration made a deep impression on the young Harrison, who saw the city as a mysterious and magical place; to this day these memories are important touchstones for the artist. There is a deep pathos in Harrison's work which often manifests as nostalgia: for lost nature, for childhood joys and fears, for the glamour and style of a bygone era, for one's memories. Harrison is indeed obsessed with the mysticism and spirituality of the natural world and carries a profound concern for modern man's neglect and abuse of that world, which lends his oeuvre a subtle political undertone. He embraces nature's beauty and darkness in equal measure, uncovering rich metaphors that speak to the pleasures and terrors or our contemporary reality.
Harrison's work is grounded in an English tradition of painting with antecedents in pre-Raphaelite classicism, the visionary romanticism of William Blake and the inspired fantasies of Richard Dadd. Harrison augments traditional genres of landscape and portrait painting with imagery drawn from myth, fable, politics and his own personal life. Second Nature presents an overview of Harrison's work of the past several years. His painting style varies and is at times reminiscent of artists as diverse as James Ensor, Otto Dix, Francis Bacon and Philip Guston. His sculptures are made with ceramic or wood or crafted from plastic bottles or cardboard boxes. Harrison works with a free and playful disregard for modernist conventions, reveling in all that is odd, discarded or forgotten.
David Harrison was born in 1954 in London, where he currently lives and works. He began to exhibit his work shortly after completing his studies at Central St. Martin's. Harrison's works have been exhibitied throughout the UK and abroad, including exhibitions at Sir John Soane's Museum, London (2010); Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2006); Arts Centre St. Petersburg, Florida (2005); Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2005); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2004); Bloomberg Space, London (2004); and Cubitt Gallery, London (2001). Second Nature is the artist's first solo exhibition at VW Berlin.