We Visited Anne Harris' Lecture

Presented by the Painting and Drawing department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Associate Professor Anne Harris had given an astonishing artist talk on the past Wednesday (October 10). Pursued her MFA in Yale University in 1988, Harris had been showing interest in portrait painting since the early stage of her career while also engaging in multiple curations. Using a large amount of metaphor Harris mainly focused on her painting process during the past three decades for the content of the lecture, Harris had given artistic insight and inspiration in addition to an elaboration of her works.

  Harris had begun her lecture with the department’s required prompt of recent development, however, she confessed that she had no idea what her recent development is since it is just simply the surface of her 30 years of work. Harris organized and cataloged her lectures into 9 sections. Initialed with the topic anxiety Harris revealed her wanting to match with the social beauty standard as a young adult, continued talked about self-misperceptions she elaborated with the defining self-perception as “how we think other perceive ourselves”. Harris then began to work without and beyond the “likeness” component in one portrait but to focus on embodying the honest feeling.

    Her portraits began to develop as she entered an older age, Harris next launch into the concept of “becoming invisible”. She explained how as a young female she had the power to attract the viewers, yet as Harris aged she claimed to lose such power yet gained the power of staring back to the viewers.  

   Metaphor was another important component of Harris’s work. Confessing her early struggles with writing, however, she had found her true voice in using metaphorical examples in her paintings since the 90s. Using her favorite element to study in her work as an example for her speech, Harris asked

“After all what is an eyelid?," a beautiful surface that is fragile yet designed to protect something even more so; it’s formless taking its shape from its favorite colors; when closed, dry covering wet; light going through from the inside, and transparent from the outside, stare at shut eyelid and see pure passivity, it suddenly open for shock, I want my painting o function like an eyelid, vary from dry to wet, inside to outside…

Harris had resented her speech beautifully and approached her process of painting in the most poetic way.

Harris also share extreme personal experience inspired work. Strike with family’s death where she had faced an emotional challenge, Harris began to consider the figure-ground relationship as explained how figure created the ground and the ground created the figure, then she entered another chapter of her career by starting group paintings.

Recently Harris has been focusing on group paintings and drawing as she mainly participated and originated the project The Mind’s I—a collaborative drawing project designed to investigate the complexities of perception and self-perception through drawing.