Geoff Harrison - Chambers of the Mind

Wednesday 12 - Saturday 29 July 2023


Interiors can include passageways to light, avenues for escape and architecture  to inspire. Sigmund Freud had plenty to say about significance of interiors and doorways in his book The Interpretation of Dreams. If buildings are meant to shelter us from the world, as Freud suggests, then what kind of shelter is being provided. If buildings are our little kingdom, then what kind of kingdom are we rulers of?

This series is based on paintings of fantasy church interiors and architectural capriccios produced by a number of artists in the 17th and 18th centuries. These works gave the artists an opportunity to show off their technical skill and in order to enhance the grandeur of the scenes, they employed the rather dubious tactic of populating them with figures that were far too small. And yet there is a cold, clinical quality to some of these paintings that appealed.

The settings may have been imaginary, but in my re-imaginings I have removed the figures in order to draw the viewer into the scene and explore. These interiors can be contemplative, exploratory and, perhaps, not entirely sane.

There is no religious overtones to this series. I am not a religious person but I do acknowledge the wonderful inspiration religion has made to architecture. It’s a matter of separating the corporeal from the spiritual and it probably helps to be super sensitive to atmospheres.

My art practice often includes taking the backward step of producing a drawing from an image I have encountered on the internet or elsewhere so I can develop a relationship with the scene. Occasionally, I alter the composition and colours to achieve my desired effect. The images in this series include claustrophobic spaces and vast empty ones to present different states of mind.

Inside the brain there is a storehouse of impressions, memory and experiences that can surface at different moments and it’s a matter of capturing those moments when creating. External events impinge on our mental processes and they can spill out onto the canvas.