Understory – Rebecca Harris
In Understory Rebecca Harris plays with her ongoing interest in depicting the natural world. An understory is the layer between the ground and the canopy of the trees, but for these works it also references the emotional resonance the artist has with the scenes and the expressive filter with which she paints. She finds intimacy in the details using techniques and structures to draw the viewer in close in an ‘invitation to bathe in the dappled light of trees’. Precise brush strokes create dotted light through foliage and vein-like branches are extended through the scenes. The light of dusk and dawn is depicted with elongated shadows and reflections deepening the works. Through such methods and the painting of the immediate surroundings Harris achieves a mysterious beauty, one that is foreboding and intriguing.
Alongside the more recognisable landscapes are more wild works that sit somewhere between landscape and still-life surrealism. In these nature is imitated and twisted to the artist’s imagination, giving it a vivid other life. Here she creates contrasts with scale by blowing up elements, giving them a cell like quality as if viewed through a microscope. Instead of folding over each other, as in nature, leaves, petals, fruits and the tendrils between are packed in close echoing the forms of neighbouring elements. In the compression of pieces human anatomy and alien landscapes underneath our own are unearthed.
The line between real and unreal is walked by Harris throughout giving us different views on the literal and abstract presences of flora, fauna and earth. Serenity, ambiguity and volatility are mixed in and channelled through into these powerful enigmatic landscapes.