Jeffrey Harrison endeavors to reconcile realism with romanticism, to synchronize technical accuracy with emotional expression, and to push through his careful observation of physical details into the soulful essence and energetic power that animates his subjects. One of the primary goals of realism is to represent the subject matter truthfully with a minimum of artistic convention, and, upon first glance, Harrison’s oil paintings appear photo-realistic in their execution. However, when the viewer explores each of these works further, a much more complex reality is revealed. Harrison uses his meticulous rendering of the physical world as a springboard toward the exploration of the metaphysical aspects of the human experience: the energetic, emotional, psychological and spiritual struggles that are the archetypal reality behind our physical experience.
Through his utilization of strong yet sensual brush strokes, imaginative color relationships and precise value manipulation, he builds layer upon layer of luminous, transparent glazes, ever so gradually and patiently revealing the story embodied in each of his subjects. He doesn’t know the story of the painting before he begins it, and the continuous revelation of the narrative throughout a painting’s progression is the essence of the creative process for Harrison. He believes that the eyes are not the only windows to the soul, but so too are the furrow of the brow, the clenching of the hands or the backward thrust of the shoulders: all are vital pieces of the narrative puzzle he is assembling in paint. A condensed summation of his work might be, Expressionistic Realism.
Jeffrey Harrison is a lifelong painter, photographer and musician, and he holds a BFA in painting from the University of Colorado. He cites his major artistic influences as Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Blake and Rodin. Harrison’s work has most often been compared to that of Andrew Wyeth and contemporaries such as Daniel Sprick, Jeremy Lipking and David Jon Kassan. Over the past two decades he has worked as a private commission painter and photographer while owning an independent bookstore with his wife, Karen. As a musician, he has appeared on numerous albums in the roles of songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, engineer and producer. He lives and works in Denver along with Karen and his daughter, Sophia.