Steve Harris - Biography

Steve Harris was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1953 and is self-taught as an artist. He moved with his wife and two daughters to Australia in 1991 and now resides in Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

“Harris has become well known for his impeccably painted still life compositions, his skilful use of light, shadow and space being a hallmark of his approach. He generally tends to depict objects which have an everyday function or perhaps have even been discarded, but the work is about much more than simple representation.

 Harris is a master of understated realism which in turn evokes its own sense of ‘atmosphere’ and contemplative mood. His works have been described as ‘meditations in light’; and this is very much the feeling one has when attending one of Harris’s exhibitions – a type of reflective silence emanates from the paintings and imbues them with a spiritual quality that one would not, perhaps anticipate.”

Writer - Nevill Drury

Artist Statement

I’m not sure, but I think I was born with paint splattered on my powder blue booties and my first words were, “I NEED TO PAINT NOW.” I have yet to confirm this with my mother. My earliest memories are of Christmas Days unwrapping my much anticipated art supplies and quickly retreating to the drawing room to try out my new set square, pencils and sketch pad. My compulsion and urge to create was as strong then as it is now. My dear wife can testify to that (her love is patient).

Realism was not intentional. I did not feel the need for another direction. But I have learned to understand some things about painting in the real, such as the fact that reality and truth is tangible.

As far as technique is concerned, I treat each painting as a new adventure, not knowing exactly where the end will be. I endeavour to go beyond the rules and push the boundaries. More often than not, I show the hand at work, like splatters of paint and movement of a brush. I would get bored if I tried to present a technique that would perhaps be a little sterile. I would say my style is more dynamic than dogmatic or rigid.

If I were to classify my realist approach, I would say it is not super-realism, photo-realism or surreal etc. It may be something like ‘real-spontaneous’, but I like the term ‘painting in the real’. For me, the initial idea is the essence.