An exhibition of monumental new glassworks by Kevin Harman.
Positioned somewhere between painting and sculpture the Glassworks often appear to have some sort of reference to the places in art history where nature and abstraction collide such as Turner’s seascapes or Monet’s Giverny, but their origin is in the much more urban environment of 21st century Glasgow. Working in his Govan studio Harman reclaims and recycles materials from the world of construction, salvaging discarded double-glazing units and mis-tinted household paints. He splits apart the toughened glass panels, pouring and layering the paint onto both of the inside surfaces; letting them dry, adding more, and soon; manually tilting, flipping and transferring paint between the surfaces. The luminous and delicate forms that result belie the ordinariness of the materials and the physically demanding process of their making. In some sense the original object becomes something entirely new – a paradoxical window where surface is simultaneously opaque and flat, but also swimming with profound depths or evoking some kaleidoscopic vista. As the artist states, ‘there’s a sense of subverting the material so the window loses all transparency and becomes this other thing to be looked at rather than through’.
There’s a link here to some of Harman’s other ways of working using discarded or forgotten materials, not least his ongoing series of Skips, in which he works guerilla-style through the night on construction sights, turning the inside of a skip or dumpster into a transient gallery space for a sight-specific sculpture meticulously arranged from the detritus within.
A book, introduced with a conversation between the artist and Irvine Welsh is available to celebrate the exhibition, and presents Harman’s glassworks in the context of his wider practice.