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 Paul Harris  (1925 - )

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Lived/Active: California/New Mexico/Florida      Known for: abstract human form and still life sculpture

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Biography from Eric Firestone Gallery:
Paul Harris, born 1925, began making plaster sculpture of the human form in New Mexico in the late 1940's.  Throughout the fifties his sculpture remained largely experimental.  Utilizing plaster, papier-mâché and string, Harris created raw, ephemeral and thought-provoking works, which would receive critical praise throughout the decade at New York’s Poindexter Gallery.

The masks, figures and environments from the period were intended to convey psychological emotions as they unveiled not only the figure but also the space it mentally and physically occupied.  He injected a linear quality to control the whole and give action and life to dense masses that were added to, shaped, scraped or woven--- a never ending reference to labor and to the artist’s studio.

In the 1960’s, as Harris turned to his immediate external world, the sculpture moved away from the experimental yet he strove to retain the marriage of high art and domestic craft in stuffed and stitched cloth sculptures that used everyday items as armatures and inspiration.  Harris's soft sculpture naturally led him to the possibilities of the “hard” mediums of bronze and wood, traditional processes that hearken back to antiquity.

Over his career, Harris has worked with almost every sculptural medium and process, yet in his drawings (ongoing since childhood) he has preferred wax crayons as his primary medium.  Harris uses crayon much in the same manner he used string in his experimental sculptures from the 1950’s in which form was implied then actively defined by a tangle of lines that could spontaneously unravel into nothingness.  Just like Harris’ life work, the drawings let backgrounds mesh freely with subjects as each competes for attention and often shifts in importance as every square inch is attended to and extended by the artist’s hand and the crayon’s colored point.

Paul Harris work has been exhibited widely: Museum of Modern Art, NY, the San Francisco Museum of Art, CA and the Los Angeles County Museum, CA.

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