IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Kenny Harris

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #45: Kenny Harris- Part 2

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
Ideal? An overcast day in an ancient interior with tall windows and interesting shapes. In Europe. With a cafe downstairs. And etherial music drifting through the plaster passages. That would be ideal.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
Two strong coffees, they help me get motivated. Ever since living in Italy I associate coffee with art. I’m afraid I’m stuck with it. Sometimes I’ll listen to NPR but that gets pretty depressing these days. Podcasts are preferable. Electronic music can keep me floating along too.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I work in oils, alternating between panel and canvas depending on my current investigations. I usually have several paintings going at once, but at some point I’ll focus in to finish individual works as the last push often takes a lot of effort.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Well, travel is very important, so my wife Judy and I do that a lot—gathering inspiration. I like to play beach volleyball in Venice and Santa Monica, and jump in the ocean when I can!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
My method is to work up compositions from studies and sketches based on observation and photography. The tradition of doing oil sketches is something I have always loved, and I’m enthralled when I look at small Tiepolo or Rubens oil sketches—visual thinking playing out in front of your eyes. So, I use this in my work to figure out my path forward.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
The small still lives are part of an ongoing series of still lives playing with local color to set off the objects, bringing a graphic formality to picture plane. I love the reflective quality of spaces, and I’m bringing that into these objects, playing up the ambiguity between the object and background. The large cityscape is a slight departure for me in two ways: One, I’m embracing the panoramic qualities of the iPhone—not hiding the fascinating distortion that is a telltale artifact of the ‘Panorama’ setting. Two, I’ve begun playing with wiping and squeegeeing paint to emulate atmospheric conditions, like rain. I am enjoying this investigation very much.

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