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Australian art

Contemporary art

Western art

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Study for Court



Brent Harris

New Zealand, Australia

04 Oct 1956 -


Brent Harris was born in New Zealand and has lived in Australia since 1981. A painter, printmaker and draughtsman, Harris has developed a distinctive personal visual language where his works dwell somewhere between abstraction and peculiar figuration, incorporating elements of the surreal, such as automatic drawing and uncanny distillation of the figure. Immaculate surfaces, pristine edges and cropped forms are dominant features of his works.

Harris works methodically, often using a sequence of paintings, prints or drawings to zero in on an idea, a form or to determine a composition. Drawing is at the core of his artistic practice, he makes many drawings, continually refining forms and images before creating finished paintings. Behind the pristine refinement of his works are accumulated layers of experimentation and many drawings.

This watercolour study is a working drawing for an early series of coolly coloured and semi-abstract paintings that Harris exhibited in his solo exhibition at Karen Lovegrove Gallery in Melbourne in 1993. This watercolour relates to a painting titled Court from this solo exhibition, one of which is in the Gallery’s collection. This series of paintings corresponded with a shift in Harris’s thinking that was inspired in part by his reading of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus (1980), a seminal post-structuralist text. Harris has said that the paintings in this show were the product of an experimentation with pictorial space and his investigation into abstract concepts of space. Harris describes this work as, ‘a space to stand or a portal to move metaphorically into another imagined consciousness…a space to lay down in, or lay a body in, or a doorway/portal to move through.’ Brent Harris 2018




Media category


Materials used

watercolour on off-white wove paper


47.4 x 26.1 cm image; 60.2 x 37.5 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pencil "B Harris 93".


Gift of Brent Harris 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Brent Harris

Works in the collection