The Art critic, the late Brian Sewell was an early champion of Harrison’s work. He recognised its committed, insistent nature and described the artist as a “visionary prophet” and his paintings as “big, bold, beautiful and threatening”. In 1990, in London’s Evening Standard newspaper, he had this to say about Harrison’s figurative work : “Harrison, more skilled, more emotional, more visionary, more Romantic, more daring, uses his equally substantial paint to represent human figures of which the flesh seems flayed and torn, the bodies engaged in some titanic struggle. These images are within the broad pattern of ancestral European painting, an inheritance from the great Renaissance themes of myth and testament, the pantheon of martyrs and flayed Marsyas.”
“Many things are written by critics and commentators about an artist’s work; and many people ask an artist what does the work mean, what is it about? It seems to me that we, as human beings, struggle on a daily basis to choose between the path of good, or the path of evil. For most of the time, these struggles are of
small consequence, such as, shall I smile at that person who has just pushed into me on the bus, or shall I fire off an angry rebuke. However, the struggle can be a bigger one with more dramatic consequences, such as, should I betray a partner or friend in pursuit of my own wants and desires, or should I do the right thing
and remain faithful and loyal. Temptation and this constant struggle between good and evil is at the core of my work, as is the other constant in our lives, that one day death will be waiting around the corner. And somewhere in the space between this struggle and the inevitability of death, are the glimpses of paradise
that await the soul at the end of its journey.” (Richard Harrison, March 2020)
About Richard Harrison
Richard Harrison (b. 1954) grew up in Liverpool and spent holidays in The Lake District, where his parents had a cottage near Lake Ullswater. He was educated at Harrow School in North London, which he describes as one of England's “finest prisons for adolescent boys”, and then read Medieval History at Trinity College,
Cambridge, where he completed his degree in 1976.
After several years of wandering and drift, he completed a diploma in Furniture Design at The London College of Furniture in 1983 and then BA and MA degrees in Painting at Chelsea School of Art in 1987 and 1988, respectively.
He has travelled extensively in Australia, West and South Africa, Europe, China,
Peru and the USA and in 1990 had his first solo show at The Berkeley Square Gallery in London. In 1993 he had a solo show at The Jill George Gallery, and in 2002 he had the first of seven solo shows at Albemarle Gallery, the others following in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2016. In 2011 he was the first British artist to have a show devoted to his work at a private museum in China.
Harrison’s paintings are included in the collections of Southampton City Gallery and The Priory Church of St. Bartholomew The Great in Smithfield, London, and his monumental Crucifixion triptych “At The End…. A Beginning” hangs in The Ambulatory in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. His works can also be found
in private collections throughout the UK, Europe, Canada, The USA, Australia, China, and The Middle East.