Austin Harris "It Keeps on Burning"
May 30, 2020 / June 28, 2020
Open by appointment only.
Over the Influence is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new works in the Garey Gallery by New York Academy of Fine Arts MFA candidate, Austin Harris. The exhibition, “It Keeps on Burning”, will include seven new works on linen in artist-made frames. The upcoming exhibition will be alongside three other solo presentations by Nicasio Fernandez, Aaron Johnson, and Ryan Schneider.
Austin Harris’s work explores adolescence in rural America where he grew up surrounded by hyper masculine behavior, drugs, alcohol, violence, and misogyny from both his peers and relatives. As Harris became aware of this toxicity in his community, he began looking at his upbringing through a lens of humor as a way of moving past anger and sadness. In his paintings Harris recreates the aggressive, violent, infectious and artificial nature that surrounded him in bright cheerful hues and patterns as a way to work through the lasting scars of youth. Colorful and playful in composition, the works show characters in typically “male” activities – lighting campfires, mowing lawns, and drinking alone. The young white male subjects, with deep-set mournful eyes and tan lines indicative of working-class labor or nonchalant adolescence, are pictured alone physically and emotionally distant from other characters in the scene. Harris exhibits his works in artist-made frames, physically trapping the subjects in their own toxic mindset. Despite the overwhelming desperation, Harris brings in pops of humor – a bright pink flamingo, a “sick juice” alcohol label. Together the works build a quiet narrative of troubled youth with the glimmer of hope that one day they can break free.