Memphis, TN | Painting
Erin Harmon was raised in the suburbs of Southern California where the natural desert was sated by hundreds of miles of aqueducts to produce obsessively groomed lawns. After graduating from San Diego State University with a BA in Studio Art, she received her MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. Erin currently lives in the verdant and fecund Tennessee Delta where kudzu and coal sludge can swallow everything in their path and where she is Associate Professor of Art at Rhodes College. Erin has exhibited her work nationally in both group and solo exhibitions in venues including Field Projects. NY; the Sarah Doyle Gallery, Providence RI; LAUNCH Gallery, Los Angeles; Atlanta Artists Center & Gallery, GA; the Parthenon Museum, Nashville, TN; and The Brooks Museum, Memphis, TN. She was included in the book Remixing and Drawing: Sources, Influences, Styles (Mueller, Ellen; Routledge Press, 2018). In 2014, she debuted her first theatrical set design for Ballet Memphis’ River Project: Moving Currents which profoundly influenced the work she is making today. Erin is a founding member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los Angeles.
In the twilight zone between painting and sculpture, my work is filled with longing for places that do not actually exist. Time is suspended in these pleasure gardens where contradictions flourish- I aim to invoke both the animated and the arrested, the joyful and the staid, the high and the low. Material and processes are important as a site for fantasy and illusion and there is playful conversation between flat and not-flat. My newest work expresses the physical joy of standing on/in the paintings while making them. The viewer can’t help but project themselves into them as landscapes, even while confronting their qualities of un-nature. I seek to create backdrops for performative moments when the physical body is overwhelmed in perceptual ways. Pattern, color, and the presence of my hand affirm surface while simultaneously alluding to intimate intricate spaces. This conflation of space and illusion often creates perceptual thrill by dancing around object/non-object. When successful this optical trickery results in imagery operating as both humorous, jubilant and inviting as well as tense, stunted and ambiguous. I am influenced by a love of science fiction, fairytale, mysticism and a desire to escape into such worlds, as well as my own disorienting experience of failing to spiritually connect with actual nature.