Conrad Atkinson: All That Glisters/Margaret Harrison: On Reflection

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Jan. 10, 2024 - Feb. 7, 2015

31 Mercer Street
New York, New York 10013

For Immediate Release: December 18, 2014


January 10 – February 7, 2015

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts will exhibit paintings, drawings, and other works by Conrad Atkinson and Margaret Harrison, British artists who have been working at the frontline of art and activism since the late 60s. As a couple, each artist works separately, but both meld the methods of conceptual art with controversial subject matter. Harrison’s first solo exhibition in London was closed by police as pornographic in 1971; Atkinson’s Silver Liberties, an impartial view of “The Troubles,” was actively excluded from the Ulster Museum in Belfast in 1978. The studies for that installation are now in its collection.

Conrad Atkinson will exhibit reiterations of his signature newspaper paintings that critique the manipulation of news in the popular press. Also on view is a portrait of Tony Blair renamed as Portrait of Dorian Blair in reference to the Oscar Wilde short story of a young man who stays beautiful while his portrait ages into a monstrous creature. Dominating the gallery space is a twelve-foot high banner, originally hung in a Glasgow stadium for the Commonwealth Games. Addressing issues related to immigration, works on paper incorporate reproductions of Atkinson’s US citizenship/naturalization forms as documentary evidence. The series Stan and Despondence imagines collaborations between Wordsworth, Eminem, Kurt Corbain, and the artist himself, conflating high and low culture and historical eras to affirm mutual revolutionary fervor. Luminous mixed media drawings of imagined shopping carts of great poets address how the radicalism of the artists and poets of the past have been deliberately obscured and obliterated to render them harmless apolitical decorators. Also on exhibit are several ceramic works created some years ago in Kecskeme, Hungary, the center of a great ceramic industry.

Margaret Harrison will exhibit an installation, The Last Gaze, which gives the sense of both viewing and being viewed. Based on Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott and the Pre-Raphaelite painting by Waterhouse, the painting depicts a double image and is accompanied by rear-view car mirrors placed on an adjacent wall which echo much of Harrison’s overall theme in the show – reflection and literal mirrored reflections which confuse our perceptions of reality. Ellen’s Dress pictures a child against a dramatic sunset in which surrounding text indicates where her dress was made, sold, and its final destination. Beautiful Ugly Violence, a series of paintings of potentially-violent objects, is accompanied by text conversation pieces produced by prisoners in Northern California. Also on view are watercolor drawings of sexually explicit images of comic-book heroes and Vargas-inspired pin-ups to address sexism and question the idea of a fixed sexuality. Eight watercolors, Scents of Identity, based on Manet’s painting, A Bar of the Folies Bergère, depict women working behind the perfume counters in department stores whose images are reflected in a mirrored seductive environment.
Conrad Atkinson has been represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts since 1979. His museum collections include The Tate Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Australian National Gallery. Dividing his time between Britain and the United States, he is currently Professor Emeritus at University of California at Davis. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor/Artist in Residence at the Courtauld Institute, London University, and Honorary Fellow at Cumbria University. Margaret Harrison has been represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts since 1980. Exhibitions in the United States include a solo exhibition at The New Museum (1989) and WACK! The Art of the Feminist Revolution, a traveling group exhibition, organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Harrison’s recent awards include the 2014 Paul Hamlyn Foundation Visual Arts Award, London and the 2013 Northern Art Prize, Leeds. Her work is in the collections of Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Kunsthaus, Zurich.

Reception: Saturday, January 10, 6-8. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10-6. Monday by appointment. For more information, contact Casey Dorobek (212) 226-3232 or [email protected].

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