Lost and Found: Paintings and Pottery in Mixed Media
October 31–December 9, 2016
Artist’s Reception and Performance: Friday, November 11, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Harford is a self-taught painter whose style has been characterized as outsider art, abstract expressionist, and naïve art. He believes that many functional objects that have lost their original purpose can be transformed rather than tossed, and he paints on everything from discarded household items found on roadsides and sidewalks to wood from fallen trees. Working primarily with acrylics and oil, he uses collage to integrate cultural references into his pieces. Some pieces are responses to world events, while others are meditations on solitude, music, and families. The pottery pieces are a collaboration with ceramic artist Debbie Reichard, who provides artistic direction and administrative support to the Wilson College Ceramic Studio at Princeton University.
For this show, he worked almost entirely with repurposed materials, including large 5x6 foot canvases that were thrown out by a local university. Many of the materials had already been painted on, but Harford incorporated that work into his own. He also painted tabletops and wooden boxes found in the trash, and on wood salvaged from an old barn. For the past 30 years, Harford has incorporated postage stamps into his paintings from a collection amassed throughout his childhood. Some of the stamps date as far back as 1700 and are from countries that no longer exist. His work commemorates these images and icons from art, history, religion, and commerce, transforming them into the feathers of a bird, the bricks in a building, or the leaves in a tree.
The reception will include a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon at 7:00 p.m. and a performance by his band, Rogue Oliphant, which included Chris Harford and Ray Kubian, as well as special guest musicians from The Pennington School’s Batteries Not Included. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome.