Sun, 01/19/2014 – Sun, 05/18/2014

Scheller, Rodale, and Fowler Galleries

For the past decade, artist Paul Harryn has lived and created at “Arcadia,” his rural studio near the Delaware River between Upper Bucks County and the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Here, surrounded by nature, he has been able to focus on the development of his art: paintings, drawings, writings, films, and original music scores. His interests are wide ranging and regularly lead him across disciplinary divisions to parallel territories in philosophy, psychology, history, politics, chemistry, and theology.

Harryn’s career has spanned more than three decades. In addition to Arcadia, Harryn also creates art from studios in Venice and Santa Monica, California, and onsite in the Mojave Desert. He has been drawing inspiration from the desert since the late 1980s. There, in the undistracted beauty, his work takes its cues directly from nature. Likewise, in a documentary being produced by Michael Barnard, the teaser Zuma Light (2011) reveals Harryn’s process of painting at the Pacific Ocean in Malibu. By painting in partnership with the sea, Harryn is able to create a layering of color and patterns inspired and imbued with elements of nature.

Essence of Nature is a collection of Harryn’s works made over the past few decades, most of which have not been seen outside of private collections. The abstract works are a visual record of the artist’s highly individualized exploration of syntax and causality within the context of natural environments. His technique reveals a mastery of materials, involving a complex process of selective layering in which up to fifty stratums of paint are sequentially applied, with only the most significant “events” of each layer preserved. The result synthesizes the best elements from the “life” of the painting, with portions of each generation coexisting simultaneously and seamlessly as a unified surface, yielding a seasoned and deeply harmonious work.

Harryn’s in-depth understanding of contemporary philosophical and aesthetic ideas allows him to pioneer new discoveries while bridging them with conventional idioms. This exhibition will be a multimedia experience, in tune with the multidimensional lives most of us live. Essence of Nature will include Harryn’s small-scale Seasons work, along with drawings, sculpture, and the much larger 10-by-10-foot canvases from his Pacificus series in California, as well as original music compositions.

“My paintings are improvisational,” Harryn has said, “a collage of visual phrases informed by nature and responding to the ever-changing conditions of its life force. They are symphonies of compressed time.”

Click here to read the interview Harryn on Harryn conducted by our Chief Curator Diane Fischer.


Featured image: Placid Blues (2009)


Presenting Sponsors:

Amaranth Foundation

The Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment

Lisa Scheller and Wayne Woodman


Sustaining Sponsor:

The Audrey and Bernard Berman Endowment Fund


Supporting Sponsors:

Children’s HealthCare

CITY CENTER Lehigh Valley

The Express-Times

ICON magazine

Lehigh Valley Woman magazine

WDIY 88.1 FM–Lehigh Valley Community Public Radio