A Sea in Suspense brings together a new body of work by Ingram Collection Purchase Prize awardee Tomas Harker.
Like the tides, the ubiquitous jpeg image ceaselessly impresses upon us before receding into an expanse. Tomas Harker suspends suchfleeting images in paint, a medium at odds with our perpetual visualconsumption. Sifting through online images as anthropological fragments of our culture, he selects diverse source material to paint. High, low, iconic and banal are treated with equal importance, their hierarchies deconstructed in the process. A non-linear narrative of allegorical and aesthetic associations is created throughout, one that resists didactic interpretation.
Within his practice, the gesture of painting has a function akin to self-analysis. Insights are unveiled and decoded both over the course of creation and during subsequent encounters with the viewer. The brevity of Harker’s brushstrokes suggest a sense of agency, responding to our consumption and the pace of visual saturation. His economy of brushstroke, characteristically chalky palette and exposure of canvas convey the artist’s internalisation and transformation of found image material.
This series of paintings puts forward an inherently self-reflexive perspective on the place of art in the midst of daily image consumption. From source to finish and from the specificity of one discipline, the work exhibited here offers aresponse to the ‘sea’ of excess which characterises modern visual culture. Through an exploration of the qualities and history of his medium, Harker questions if adding to its legacy is a wish to reappropriate its symbolic power.