Michael Harnish’s paintings show a conscious departure from traditional methods of painting in favor of a bold, deconstructive approach to mark making. Harnish works with collage and instant film, moving back and forth between paper, photography and canvas, exploring the tension between inorganic and organic elements.
The breakdown of tradition and the construction of new traditions through practice and discipline is something Harnish has continuously sought from his early days as a graffiti artist to his current studio practice.
Michael Harnish earned his bachelor and master degrees in painting from the Laguna College of Art and Design, finishing his education in 2010. Harnish was born and raised in Dana Point, moving to Los Angeles after graduation setting up a studio in the Downtown Arts District.
These recent works are collages and paintings of romantic, dream-like visuals based on Polaroids and vintage film photography. Most of the images depict California based plants and cactus flowers. Botanical images paired with hazy bright neon abstract bars create a new visual path through the composition and reference a relationship similar to a Rothko but through a post 80’s lens.
The inclusion of a “Polaroid inspired” border surrounding the main focal image creates the idea of a picture with in a picture and touches on photo referential painting. It allows the viewer to contemplate the surrounding margins as an important and meaningful presence to the image itself.
The play of dead space contrasts to the trend in digital design to collage a composition with images or advertisement bombardment.
Michael Harnish, Los Angeles, 2018