The paintings of Pat Harris radiate a quiet beauty. Their apparent simplicity derives from not only the choice of subject, where the artist constantly revisits objects or landscapes, but also the assuredness and freshness of the paintwork and the subtle changes of colour.
His recent series of paintings 2018-20 is entitled 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 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.’
Harris approaches a painting as if it were a book, with each page being a stage in the painting’s journey. Every layer of paint put down, painted over, or scraped away, contributes 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 (born 1953, Dublin, Ireland) 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 until 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 been shown in several major exhibitions of Irish art, including In the Time of Shaking at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. His work is represented in collections including: The Arts Council of Ireland; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. He is a member of Aosdána and The Royal Hibernian Academy Ireland