Interior Worlds, March 2018:
For this body of work I focused on finding my voice in portraiture. I have turned my inquiry from the depiction of interior spaces to the interior worlds of my peers in Los Angeles. I have chosen my creative friends, showing them engaged in activities or contemplation, inviting the viewer to participate in their quiet moments. The environments the figures inhabit play a major role in the paintings by supporting the psychological space of the sitter—sometimes the figures even merge with a background or vibrate against it. I was approaching the portraits with experimentation in mind, exploring the genre in my own voice but without pre-determined methods. The needs of each composition demanded various technical approaches, hence the variety of paint application and scale. I attempted to create portraits that evoke the human experience through a textured surface which is at once illusion and object.
Kenny Harris’ new paintings evoke the light and mood of architectural spaces from his travels around the world. He is fascinated with subtle light effects and expressive painterly surfaces, focusing on interiors or cityscapes. His dynamic paint application describes the way light pours through a space, with scrapes and impasto embodying the texture of the surfaces depicted. The paint itself becomes plaster and wood, or a glint of light reflecting off a dull surface worn smooth with age.
The locations chosen for these paintings span the globe from Lisbon to Italy, London, Paris, Havana, and Istanbul. Harris has been traveling and painting for many years, and this body of work reflects the many disparate spaces that capture his eye for light and texture. His wife, fellow painter Judy Nimtz, appears in many of the small paintings—in the act of painting at her easel or in other quiet moments.
For his large compositions Harris chose to focus on Havana, Cuba as his subject. The colorful emptiness of it’s arcades and interiors evoke a stillness charged with meaning. The Cuban people are waiting in anticipation for what is to come, and these empty spaces are emblematic of this suspense. Harris’ paintings are at once both modern and nostalgic.