Kevin Harman’s new exhibition at Ingleby Gallery presents a first cohesive look at the series of glassworks on which he has been working for the last two years. Positioned somewhere between painting and sculpture these large format abstractions are at once seductively beautiful and challengingly physical. Like much of Harman’s previous work they have their origins in a found object, in this case enormous double-glazing units, which the artist splits apart in order to pour, layer and drip household paint onto the interior cavity.
The resulting images balance the artist’s intentions with moments of chance, and an unexpected connection with past moments in art history. There are shades of Diebenkorn, Pollock, Monet or Turner but with a sense of the final object being something entirely new – a window that defies logic, and through which we cannot see, a surface that is simultaneously opaque and flat, but with apparently swimming depths.
This is not the first time that Harman has used the humble window as the medium for his message. Since leaving Edinburgh College of Art in 2010 he has become known for his provocative performance-based work, including an ongoing series of sculptures made guerilla-style in skips and dumpsters in the dead of night.
In particular, there was the deliberate smashing of a public gallery window in 2009, which saw his MFA degree show end up in the hands of the local jurisprudence. Was it art or vandalism? Six years on the debate will perhaps be reignited by the presentation of this broken window and the related correspondence and court papers in the ground floor space at Ingleby Gallery.