Gabryel Harrison

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Riches of Peonies, 2017
Oil on canvas
40 X 30 in.

Harrison’s study of Buddhism and her practice of meditation inform her artistic practice. She believes it is the responsibility of the artist to enlarge awareness, to be part of the conversation that cultivates attention and compassion for the sufferings of the world. In both her studio practice and her poetry, Gabryel invites the viewer to slow down, to perceive art as an object of contemplation or evidence of wonder. It is her belief that this simple engagement can be a radical act.
Gabryel Harrison was born in Tauranga, New Zealand in 1959 and received her BA with a Concentration in Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa. She currently lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. Her work can be found in private collections across Canada, the US and abroad. She works predominately in the medium of oil painting, but her body of work includes printmaking, texts, video and sculptural objects. She has had solo shows in Vancouver since 2007 at Winsor Gallery with solo shows in Auckland at The International Art Center and the Bugera Matheson Gallery in Edmonton. Her most recent exhibition, entitled The Arc of Our Disappearance, took place at Winsor Gallery in the summer of 2016. These paintings present a study of our passing; the full life cycle of the flowers acts as a reflection of our own temporality.
“On the surface, Harrison’s paintings appear to be about what practitioners of Zen Buddhism may call ‘everyday suchness’ – the notion of perceiving an object only as it is, such as experiencing “a leaf purely as a leaf purely over a period of time”. The rose sheds its signifying layers, its syrupy cliché, and becomes only that: a rose. However, the latent themes in Harrison’s florals and landscapes, which seem darker and more evanescent than they have ever been, reach beyond the meditative ‘suchness’ of still life and into the phenomenological realm through gesture, colour, and poetry. […]

The beauty in Harrison’s paintings is marred – but not diminished – by crude drips and slashes that move her oeuvre out of the realm of representation and into that of experience. This sensation is owed as much to her use of colour as it does to her energetic stroke. […] Swathes of soft pinks and lavenders, golds and creams, remind us that colour “is not something daubed onto a pre-existing shape, filling a form”: it has its own, phenomenological form that we experience both a retinal and bodily manner. " (Excerpt from Heart Wide Open by Alex MF Quicho.)