Margaret Harrison

Nominated By: Kate Brindley, Director, MIMA
Region: North West

Margaret Harrison has created a new series of work entitled ‘Reflect’ especially for the Northern Art Prize. The installation brings together sculpture, painting and drawings.

‘Common Reflections’ is a reconstruction and reinterpretation of a perimeter fence from RAF Greenham Common. The installation presents the occupation of a site adjacent to the base where, in 1981, women set up a legendary peace camp to protest against the nuclear weapons located there. The work comprises two opposing constructions of concrete posts, wire, mirrors and corrugated zinc sheeting and is strewn with personal items – children’s clothing, toys, photographs and kitchen ephemera. This work excavates many of the themes about women and their position in society that Harrison has explored since her first solo show in 1971. The mirrors echo the ways protesting women held up mirrors to reflect back the base and those guarding (as if to hold them to account). Here they also serve to disorient the gallery viewer with a disconcerting sense of both viewing and being viewed.

‘The Last Gaze’ is a new painting based upon ‘The Lady of Shalott,’ a painting by John William Waterhouse (1894), from the Leeds collection, that interprets the poem by Alfred Lord Tennison that tells of a cursed woman who can only view the world via mirrored images. ‘The Last Gaze’ repeats the motif of reflection, pairing the image in both color and black and white. On the adjacent wall rear-view car mirrors reflect Harrison’s painting, and offer a contemporary restaging of this idea of viewing the world only through conflicting or confusing perceptions.

Biography: Margaret Harrison was born in Wakefield in 1940, she currently lives in Carlisle.  She studied at Carlisle College of Art (1957-61), Royal Academy Schools, London England (1961-64) and the Academy of Art, Perugia Italy (1965).  Harrison has been producing work and exhibition across the world since the 1970s including shows at Battersea Arts Centre, London; The New Museum, New York; Payne Shurvell Gallery, London and Silberkuppe, Berlin.

Payne Shurvell Gallery

Silberkuppe Gallery

Images courtesy of the Artist and Silberkuppe.