Since the mid 1990’s Alexis Harding has subjected painting to a singular physical strain.
His work emerged as an antagonistic and unruly take on abstract painting in the 90’s and has developed into a wider practice that explores and celebrates the intersections between abstraction and representation. In its use of painterly time-based material and the reinvention and appropriation of various organising principles, it has sought out new areas for painting. One of the most innovative and driven makers of his generation, Harding’s practice over the last 20 years has aimed to reinvigorate the possibilities of abstract painting.
“I use an ordinary language of abstraction to begin with and then aim to fundamentally change it; over time the painting moves and changes on its way to an image and compositional position. It will then continue long after I have stepped away from it. Contingency, control, chance and cancellation are at the centre of the conditions in making these works.
Each painting is subjected to a specific painterly behavior where I am able to slow the making of a painting right down and then make incredibly quick decisions within this durational time-span. The long drying time is there to allow ideas and the world IN.
There are many processes and approaches to make a painting that occur simultaneously in the studio and I tend to work in series that overlap, where the paintings direct and ask me to move from one to the next and back again; they are in a continual state of formation and change where my role is to guide them. The movement, fracture and disruption of the wet surface is dynamic, bodily, entropic and continually generative”.
The work has been shown Nationally and Internationally since 1995. Harding was the winner of the 2004 John Moores Prize for painting in 2004.