Monuments serve as symbols of desire for immortality. They suggest a fear of being forgotten and attempt to reinforce and preserve civic memory, but also function to organize public space and to help people find their orientation. In both cases they try to help us feel more secure about who and where we are. My recent work addresses the challenge of trying to abandon this sense of comfort and security from familiarity and permanence, and to find comfort in the ephemeral.
The work Nomadic Monuments is a series of portable sculptures I produced in response to a recent period of my life when I was constantly re-locating from one city to another. The desire is to find comfort wherever I am. I incorporate Nomadic ideas as inspiration to challenge urban thought, but also as a means of display, transport, and presentation. The ritual of assembling and de-assembling each work in different public spaces imbues me with a sense of purpose and place. The forms of the sculptures draw inspiration from the physical symbols of personal space such as the bed frame and the surrounding walls. The paper folding screens are reminders of the fragility of the walls we build to protect us. The screens create an intimate space within an open area and function as temporary partitions to divide, to conceal, and to protect.
My most recent work Consolation of Solitude confronts the challenge of trying to enter the personal space of someone else. The history and permanent place of everything we have built around ourselves is our intimate source of protection and strength. How do we share the subtlety and privacy of personal history with others so they do not disturb the source of our stability and sense of balance? The fragile yet resilient capacity of the paper walls and hinges reflects the vulnerability inherent when we begin to reveal our more intimate thoughts. My work is an expression to the viewers of my attempt to understand the source of their susceptibility. How do we balance the desire and fear of intimacy with the security and comfort of isolation?
Artist Bio / CV
1995-99 B.A., Honors, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
1997 Fall Semester Abroad, Temple University, Rome, Italy
1994 National Academy of Art and Design, New York, NY
2008 A Season in Refuge: Nomadic Monuments by Joshua Harris, OCAC Gallery, Ministry of Culture Thailand. Bangkok, Feb. 8th– Feb. 29th, 2008.
2007 Written on the Wind: The Flag Project, The Rubin Museum of Tibetan Art, New York, NY. September 14 - February 11, 2008
Sustenance, ArtHarlem presents 15 artists living and working in Harlem, The Next Gallery, Metropolitan College, New York, Sept. 12 – Oct. 26
(un)Contained Vessels, The Center for Book Arts,
New York, July 12 -September 15
The Action/Interaction: Book/Arts Exhibition, Columbia College
Chicago Center for Book & Paper Arts, Illinois, June 8 – August 29
2006 Perspectives: Contemporary Asian Art, Culture, Identity, Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse University, Aug. 26 – Oct 21
Art Harlem: Macy Gallery, Columbia University Teachers College
New York, June 12-26
2005 Featured Artist Series: The Center for Book Arts, Feb-Mar,
2003 Defiance: Udi Alone Project Space, Group Show, Mar-Feb,
2001 Reactions: Exit Art, April 3 – 27, NY, NY
2005 Limited Edition Print: Commissioned by the Center for Book Arts
2004 Emerging Artist Residency: The Center for Book Arts, Oct-Dec, NY
2002 Asia Society Travel Grant: Ganges River, India, June
1995 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Two Regional Gold Keys
(Painting) and National Silver Key (poetry), New York, NY and
2008 Poshyananda, Apinan, ed. A Season in Refuge: Nomadic Monuments by Josh Harris, Bangkok, Thailand. Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, January 2008
Pholdhampalit, Khetsirin, “Life Keeps Collapsing. Foundations of
permanence and familiarity fold to nothing in the sculptures of Joshua Harris”, The Nation [Bangkok] 14 Feb. 2008. Life A1+p.8
Guselli, Lachlan, “Bringing Cities to Life”, Bangkok Post, 14 Feb. 2008. Outlook p. 8.
Flag Project, Contemporary Artists Celebrate the Opening of a New Museum, The Rubin Museum 2007, p. 93