SAMSTAG ALUMNI 2000

John Harris
Born 1975, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales

Relating to human experience is high on the agenda in the art of John Harris, ideally as it is staged within the context of the American sociopolitical landscape. Harris's aim is to make work that addresses the logic of the often absurd and spectacular artifice of 'the empire of signs', and which simultaneously offers itself as critical commentary on the nature of its own potent, postideological dynamics.

If this sounds like something of a tall order, it has been the modus operandi of much pop art since the inception of the genre, although Harris's art has little of the deadpan literalness so indicative of pop. Instead, the symbolic is the dominant code, and encoded in Harris's work is the discursive and ubiquitous rhetoric of dystopia, urging adherence and targeting all levels of perceptual experience from the subliminal to the sublime. Scale in this context is relative, as the miniature Billboard suggests, Haikulike in its semiotics of economy; and this relativity of scale is further compounded by The Parable of Experience, a billboardsize set of brackets designed as a device to enclose more than one line of text a very ordinary ideogram, now ethereal in 'transcendent' green neon.

The hyperreal plethora of belief systems we engage with incurs a multitude of martyrs, and one crosses the dystopian landscape at one's own risk..... on a wing and a prayer.

James Moss from his Samstag catalogue essay, The World is not Enough
 
2000 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2000 MFA, New York University, New York, USA 
1998 Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane
1997 Graduate Program, (Fall term), Studio Art, University of California, Irvine