Pat Harris

Pentimenti and Other Doubts

tbc – 2 May 2020

Pat Harris’s paintings exude a perfectly quiet beauty. There is an apparent simplicity in his work as a result of his choice of subject, often revisiting objects or landscapes -a flowers and cliffs, but also due to the assuredness and freshness of his paintwork and the subtle colour changes he uses in such a suggestive way.

The title of the exhibition refers to ‘Pentimento’, an Italian word for repentance: Yet, ‘pentimenti’ also define alterations in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous stages, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind during the painting process. Pentimenti may show that elements in the painting have been moved, rearranged or painted over. They effectively show the history and hidden secrets of the painting’s making. Pat Harris has written: ‘I was drawn to Pentimento through the ever changing light and mists of North Mayo (Ireland). Rocks appear, are clouded over, disappear and often reappear in another guise, colour or form. This is Pentimento in the landscape.’

With a strong sense of emotion and impression of gesture, Harris approaches painting as if it were a book, with each page being a stage in the painting’s journey. Each layer of paint put down, painted over, or scraped away, contributing to the conclusion, to the painting’s final surface. The various layers and stages in the painting’s making remain, in some cases still visible, as pages in a book would be, and are the fabric of the final image. They are paintings of time and place.

Pat Harris was born in Dublin in 1953 and studied at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and at The Higher Institute of Fine Art Antwerp. He was professor of painting at The Royal Academy of Fine Art Antwerp from 1986 till 2015. He has exhibited widely in Europe with solo shows at Taylor Galleries Dublin, De Zwarte Panter, Antwerp and Gallery S65 Aalst, Belgium. His work has also been included in several major exhibitions of Irish art, including In the Time of Shaking at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. His work is represented in many collections including: The Arts Council of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, and Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art. He is a member of Aosdána and of The Royal Hibernian Academy Ireland and shares his time between his studio in North Mayo, Ireland and Tielrode, Belgium.