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A Gloriane Harris Solo Show Inaugurates New ViCA Space in LA

  • Gloriane Harris - Coastal Fog Sun
January 15, 2020
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

It is not rare that some artists are left out from the art world and the reasons for that may vary. The most staggering ones among them are the ones who left a significant mark, or are even considered pioneers within their own contexts.

Such is the case with Gloriane Harris, who has been a distinct proponent of the LA art scene in the late 1960s and has experimented largely with painting setting the path for the Light and Space movement to come. In February 2020, her lasting career will be thoroughly explored with the upcoming retrospective 50 Years of Oil & Water – Gloriane Harris – 1969-2020 that will mark the Grand Opening of The Venice Institute of Contemporary Art in their new space at the Bendix Building in Los Angeles downtown.

Gloriane Harris - Texas Flood
Gloriane Harris – Texas Flood, 2017. Oil on canvas, 38.1 x 76.2 x 2.5 cm

The Domains of Gloriane Harris

Gloriane Harris studied at Otis Art Institute, where she was mentored by Charles White, among other notable artists. Together with Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman, she worked on the first artists’ worldwide satellite broadcast that took place at Documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977. Harris once stated that “the light of the ocean and the beach in Southern California is like nothing anywhere else”, underling the two motifs that had the most important influence on her painting.

However, in the late 1980s, Gloriane Harris withdrew from the art scene while continuing to paint. Throughout the years, she worked as a lecturer at the Otis Art Institute, the El Camino College, the Cerritos College, and other institutions.

Gloriane Harris - Mutchka
Gloriane Harris – Mutchka, 1969. Oil on canvas, 48 x 39.75 inches in Vintage Frame

The Historical Context

During the late ’60s and early 1970s, numerous artists left LA since the scene was small and undeveloped and they fled to New York thinking that was their only way to survive. However, some artists such as Ed & Nancy Keinholz, Lita Albuquerque, George Herms, and Gloriane Harris, decided to stay and develop their own scene without the pressure typical for the cruel NY art market. The renowned American art critic, curator, and poet Peter Frank underlines the artist’s contribution to American art history:

Among other things, Gloriane Harris’s half-century output demonstrates that color-saturated painting in southern California owes little to its East Coast equivalent. Rather, it results from keen attention to nature and, especially, to light. Harris is nothing if not a Light-and-Space artist; she just happens to rely on paint, brushes, and canvas.

Gloriane Harris - Fire Water
Gloriane Harris – Fire & Water, 2018. Oil on canvas, 38.1 x 76.2 x 5.1 cm

Gloriane Harris at ViCA

The LA audience and ViCA visitors will be able to experience Gloriane Harris’ paintings, as well as photographs and the archival documentary about the artist that is rarely seen. The director of ViCA, Juri Koll shared his excitement with the upcoming exhibition:

We’re proud to present the first retrospective exhibition of Gloriane Harris and her first solo show in 35 years. Harris has lived and worked on the westside of LA — quite purposely under the radar — for decades. Meanwhile, she was often ahead of her time, such as with her early hard edge work and shaped canvases, which no one has ever seen since she painted them.

50 Years of Oil & Water – Gloriane Harris – 1969-2020 will be on display at the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles from 8 February until 31 March 2020.

Featured image: Gloriane Harris – Coastal Fog & Sun, 2018. Oil on canvas, 38.1 x 76.2 x 5.1 cm. All images courtesy the artist and the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art.