The Eye Awake features new works by Ian Fisher and Matthew Harris, two artists who both currently live and work in Colorado. The title and frame of the exhibition, The Eye Awake, focuses on Fisher and Harris’ similar practices of culling inspiration from the visible world they are immersed in, whether it comes from cloud formations or globs of paint. Though these two artists have similar approaches to viewing and incorporating the world around them, Fisher and Harris contrast in the visceral task of making sense of this world through their mediums and subject matter. Matthew Harris’ material-landscape photographs and Ian Fisher’s cloud paintings shown side by side illuminate one of contemporary art’s enduring partnerships between physicality and idealism. Harris’ photographs result from detailed documentation of his experimental studio practice. Comfortable working with any material in reach, he often uses items such as packing Styrofoam or butter, among other things, for their intrinsic aesthetic qualities. Pairing Harris’ articulated molecular territories with Fisher’s paintings of billowing summer clouds highlights the discrepancy and paradoxical complementarity of grand landscape in partnership with banal detail, at the intersection of which resides a desire to understand the world though human experience. Fisher’s large-scale cloud paintings resonate with the idealism often found in spiritual art while maintaining attention to the human drive to find relational connections to the natural world. Exhibited next to each other, Fisher and Harris’ works make visible a grasping at understanding the aesthetic world around us, underscored by the variety of places aesthetic objects can be found. In the correspondences and contrasts between the sacred and the profane, the mundane and the iconic, the artists draw out a sense of the complexity of our visual world by observing the sublime and ridiculous details of the material world around us.
– Cortney Lane Stell, Guest Curator