Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris is a multi-faceted artist who explores drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and digital media. His work is included in the collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum as well as in numerous corporate and private collections.  Through mixed-media works, collages and installation, Kevin enjoys making art by using a hybrid of media and methods.

                        “I am fascinated by layering and combining drawing, photography and printmaking, digitally or by collage. In printmaking, I prefer to create small editions and unique prints allowing me to explore multiple variations on an image—the imperfect clone—rather than a set of identical multiples. My recent work shows my captivation with street art, its aesthetic and anti-aesthetic aspects and its potential as a voice for political commentary and empowerment.”

The gallery is proud to present the series Dream Sequence, Fight or Flight, Angels Tread featuring the artwork, Swarm, Martin, Elegy for Mike, Trayvon, Bee Boy, Elegy for Tamir. 

Dream Sequence—a cinematic device in which elements of a story are presented as fragments. Lines of reality may be blurred and events and timelines may be shuffled. An image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. appears in Trayvon Martin’s hoodie. The image of Dr. King is taken from his 1956 Montgomery, Alabama mug shot. The artwork imagines an alternate reality where young Martin King is 17 in 2012. Would he be assumed a criminal and have his tragically short life cut even shorter? This piece is juxtaposed with Trayvon Martin’s portrait superimposed on Dr. King’s mugshot.

Flight or Fight

Trayvon is surrounded by bumblebees. The yellow and black stripes of bumblebees is an example of aposematism, nature’s way of warning that bees may pose a danger. The markings, in turn, protect the bee and preserves the benefits bees provide to life on earth. People of color may be assumed to be a threat simply because of the color of their skin. Trayvon wears a Black-Eyed Susan, a symbol of judgement. People of color may be perceived as threat, may be seen as inferior, may be assumed criminal. When children are prejudged this way, when infants are not shown love, when youth are not given opportunities for success or not given hope for survival, they may become a menace to society. This sentiment led Tupac Shakur’s anagram, T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E., “the hate u give little infants fucks everyone”.  What will be the future of children who do not have safe drinking water or are separated from their families at our southern border?

Angels Tread

Graffiti is used in varying degrees in each piece as calligraphic element and decorative motif as well as a symbolic reference to the Broken Windows policing policy that was escalated to “Stop and Frisk” by New York City mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. This policy, which was admittedly an effort to strike fear into black and brown people walking the streets of New York, ultimately led to the strangulation death of Eric Garner on Staten Island. The first phase of Broken Windows was graffiti eradication.  The concept behind Broken Windows was that urban blight was a sign of crime. Remove the blight—repair broken windows, buff out graffiti—eliminate crime. Continue to eliminate crime by removing criminals from blighted neighborhoods. But anyone in a blighted area was assumed a criminal. And, since people of color were targeted in blight zones, people of color anywhere—where ever we tread—are perceived as a threat. This may be playing in a park in Cleveland like Tamir Rice or walking in the street in Ferguson like Mike Brown or jogging in Brunswick like Ahmaud Arbery or shopping at a Walmart in Beavercreek like John Crawford or holding a cell phone in Sacramento like Stephon Clark or driving in St. Paul like Philando Castile or in Cincinnati like Samuel DuBose or in Prairie View like Sandra Bland or asleep in a car in Atlanta like Rayshard Brooks or sleeping at home like Breonna Taylor or begging for life like George Floyd.


The gallery will donate all its proceeds for this series to the Color of Change organization https://colorofchange.org

 

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