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Mark Harrington: Depth of Field


Accompanied by an exhibition program featuring conversations with noted author and art historian, Susan Landauer.

(Los Angeles) - Edward Cella Art + Architecture is proud to announce a solo exhibition of work by Bavaria based artist Mark Harrington.  Entitled, Depth of Field, the exhibition presents new non-representational paintings, which are distinguished by their thickly layered surfaces organized in rhythmic bands of subtle, contrasting color. Inspired by the cinematographer’s term depth of field, that is to say the range of distance within a photograph or film image that is acceptably sharp, the exhibition presents a sequence of paintings which explores the dynamic visual relationship between the painting’s physical surface and its illusionary, visual ground.

With a debt to fresco, Harrington imbeds multi-tonal veins of color into monochromatic fields through repeated insertions and reductions of paint. Using a minimal or reductive system of compressed layers of built-up and stripped-away paint, the artist controls what the eye perceives in terms of imagery. In doing so, Harrington establishes a dialogue between illusory bands of transparent, distressed color and the plastic, sculptural nature of his materials. Investigating the interaction of color and line, Harrington’s large-scale abstractions focus on space, pictorial depth and light.

Although there are few overt signs of brushwork in Harrington’s smooth surfaces there is evidence of the artist’s handiwork. Employing the workmanship inherent to the classical traditions of European painting, Harrington’s paintings represent a contemporary reinterpretation of the aesthetics of modernist painting. Using a variety of self-made tools including combs and scrapers to create his paintings, Harrington’s work captures distinctive signs of physical action. Of his paintings, the artist says, “They may be analogous to aspects of the world and our experience, but are not evocative of conditions outside themselves. However, I want them to mean and to arouse a sense of resolve and upliftedness.”

Although currently living in Bavaria, Harrington’s West Coast heritage has been a strong cultural and aesthetic reference in his work. The artist’s work was featured most recently in a solo exhibition entitled, The Shadow- Line at the San Jose Museum of Art (2008), for which art historian Peter Selz wrote, “At a time when abstract painting, indeed painting in general, seems on the wane, Harrington produces paintings that validate the perpetual human act of visual denotation… recalling John Cage‘s musical compositions, [having] no beginning and no end, appearing like fragments of infinitude.”

Other recent exhibitions include West Coast Painting at Galerie Biedermann in Munich (2006) and the Diözesanmuseum Freising in Southern Germany (2002). He has taught at academies of fine art and schools of design in England, Spain, and Norway between 1979 and 1999, and his work was included in the 2004 Norwegian Arctic Biennial.

In Conversations: Mark Harrington and Susan Landauer
Friday, May 28, 2010, 7:00 pm

In conjunction with the exhibition “Depth of Field” Susan Landauer and Mark Harrington will discuss the historical and cultural framework of Harrington’s work within the development of abstraction in California.  Landauer will also discuss the influence of Harrington’s step-father, the noted and influential painter and art educator Hassel Smith, for which she is currently participating in a monograph to be published by Prestel Publication, Munich.

Susan Landauer , former Chief Curator of the San Jose Museum of Art, received her PhD from Yale University and is currently an independent writer and curator living in Oakland, California. Her recent publications include Clyfford Still: The Buffalo and San Francisco Collections (1992), California Impressionists (1996), Elmer Bischoff: The Ethics of Paint (California, 2001) and The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism (1996). Recent exhibitions curated by Landauer include "The Not-So-Still Life: A Century of California Painting and Sculpture"; "The Lighter Side of Bay Area Figuration"; and "The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism," which won two major awards from the International Association of Art Critics.

For further inquiries please contact Edward Cella at or 323.525.0053.