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Just Beyond the River, mixed media work by Daesha Devón Harris
March 10, 2018 - April 13, 2018
March 10 – April 13, 2018
Opening Reception Saturday, March 10, 4 – 6 pm.
This event is FREE and open to the public.
Gallery Hours: Tues – Fri 12 – 5 pm, Sat 12 – 4 pm
Daesha Devón Harris is a mixed media artist weaving texts with images, historical and current, that often focus on her own home town community of Saratoga Springs, NY. By subtly combining biographic information of her subjects within her mixed media/photographic work, she documents the challenges facing urban neighborhoods, the severe effects of gentrification on many communities, as well as the diverse and rich contributions of many through history that are rarely, if ever, told. She says: “Through my artwork I strive to promote a sincere understanding of the contemporary and historic contributions of people of color … with insight, compassion and protectiveness I endeavor to capture the ‘life’ that continues to evolve amidst struggle and success. And with ardent respect for a profound past, I challenge the viewer to consider the complexity of issues facing communities of color.”
Just Beyond the River features selections from Harris’ series of mixed media pieces, made using a personal collection of unidentified discarded Victorian era portraits. In production over multiple years, throughout every season, her process includes submerging a transparent version of a portrait in a body of water amongst an arranged aquatic still-life and photographing the constructed scene. The resulting image, layered with various visual elements from the past and the present, is in fact a single frame embodying all components in the same space. Also featured are selections from Harris’ newest exploration of underwater imagery that combines time-lapse photography with choreographed movements and reenactments. This work is inspired by Negro Folklore, Slave Narratives and Harlem Renaissance poetry and aims to illuminate America’s enduring legacies of colonialism and systemic racism that defines our nation’s history, while reiterating the central narrative that emerges from the referenced memoirs – the ongoing struggle for Freedom.
Daesha Devón Harris earned her BFA in Studio Art from the College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY, and her MFA in Visual Art from The University at Buffalo, NY. She has been featured in numerous exhibitions across New York State, and beyond. Her work was recently exhibited at the 80th Mohawk-Hudson Regional at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY; Many Rivers: Black Dimensions In Art, 40 Years at the Saratoga Art Center; the 37th Annual Photography Regional at the Opalka Gallery in Albany; Reclamation at Collar Works Gallery and Just Beyond The River at the Rensselaer County Historical Society, both in Troy, NY. Along with her work as a visual artist, Harris is active in her community as a youth advocate and cultural history preservationist. Her awards include grants from NYSCA/Saratoga County Arts Funding, and she has been a featured artist and speaker at many art, community and educational events, including the 15th Annual Underground Railroad Public History Conference in Troy, NY (2016), the MDOCS Portrait and Biography Series and the Harry Burleigh Commemoration Event (2016), both at Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY. You can learn more about her work at http://www.daeshadevonharris.com.
This exhibition is funded in part by The Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust, Adirondack Studios, Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid, The Community Exchange Foundation, and the New York State Council on The Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Courthouse Gallery hours during exhibitions are Tuesday through Friday 12 – 5 pm, Saturday 12 – 4 pm, and all other times by appointment. The Courthouse Gallery is located at the side entrance of the Old County Courthouse, corner of Canada and Lower Amherst Streets, Lake George, NY.