Paintings and Prints from Cornwall and Australia 1968 – 2022 is Harris’s first one-person exhibition in the UK since the 1960s. Showing at 3 Venues in St Ives, Cornwall and in our Virtual Reality gallery. Featuring oil paintings, reliefs and etchings shown for the first time in England, the exhibition includes a series of abstract paintings that represent the last work Harris made in the late 60s. These large oils on Masonite were recently rediscovered in Harris’s Australian studio and they are shown for the first time in this exhibition. The dates of the exhibition are 26 June – 18 July 2022
Born in 1932, Harris studied at Leeds College of Art before moving to St Ives in 1956. He shared Porthmeor Studio 7 with Tasmanian artist Gwen Leitch, before emigrating to Australia together in 1970.
Jeffrey Harris arrived in St Ives at a time the small seaside town was enjoying a growing international reputation as a centre for Modernist Art and a popular location for aspiring young artists. Bringing with him a solid training based on principles of ‘Bauhaus’ teachings influenced by artists Harry Thubron and Victor Pasmore, Harris was keen to find a personal visual language free of figuration and says, ‘My painting references a temporality and concern for place that evokes memory, early beginnings in Yorkshire, the landscape, the sea, and the places of Cornwall, and Australia. From these starting points my practice has developed both non-figuratively and with degrees of figuration to explore the visual language of colour and form’.
The artist continued to develop his work throughout the 1960s in St Ives and exhibited work in London before emigrating to Tasmania with Gwen Leitch, and their four children, in 1970. Subsequently moving to Adelaide, Harris pursued his painting career where he explored the colour and landscape of this new continent, exhibiting at galleries in Adelaide and Sydney. During this time Harris revisited St Ives on several occasions in effect keeping a connection to both the environments of South Australia and Cornwall, England, of which he states,‘my practice has always been informed by a deep connection to the landscape of West Penwith and to South Australia’
Harris was a Member of the Penwith Society of Arts and Crafts and lecturer at Falmouth School of Art and later at the Tasmanian School of Art and South Australian School of Art. His First solo exhibition was at the Rowan Gallery, London in 1961. Further one-person shows were held in Adelaide galleries, and at Robin Gibson Gallery Sydney.
Of the formative St Ives years, Harris says: “I learned a work ethic and what it was to be an independent artist when I moved, aged in my mid 20s, to St Ives. The professional support and friendship from artists including Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Bernard Leach, Tony O’Malley was significant. These artists set an example for the rest of my painting life. Aged 89, I still paint every day”.