Jennifer Harrison (born 1972)

Jennifer Harrison was born in Hamilton, Ontario. When she was 20, she enrolled in the Communication & Design department at the Ontario College of Art hoping to pursue a career in television advertising. The program was not what she expected, and flustered by mounting debt and the overall college experience, she dropped out after less than a year. Her painting career officially began somewhat accidentally in 1999 when a fledgling gallery offered her space in a new group show. Harrison's trademark texture is achieved in several layers. Primed canvases are coated with a thick layer of polymer acrylic; then the wet putty is 'carved' with paint scrapers, knives and brushes. A coat of dark paint is applied as an undercoat and then finally, a heavy topcoat of color. Though bright-seeming for the average house, Harrison's colors are more accurate than they seem and are easily found throughout the city. Sometimes samples of peeling paint are collected from garages and fences then matched in the studio with artists' oils. These custom tints are mixed in large batches, allowing each series to share a common, consistent palette. Through her paintings, Harrison attempts to capture a kind of aesthetic vernacular for her neighborhood and its devolution after decades of economic decline. In addition to the clashes of color, dilapidation is expressed through a primitive use of perspective and detail, and she relies on the interplay of texture and shadow as a substitute for light. With people, cars and greenery removed, the houses become a strange mix of cheerful hues and haunting vacancy. After nearly ten years of professional practice, Harrison has exhibited extensively in galleries in both Canada and the United States. Harrison has recently relocated to Nova Scotia.









































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