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international drawing annual 9 exhibition-in-print
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Kirsty Harris
London, United Kingdom

detail image


Kirsty Harris's recent small scale silverpoint drawings are based upon archival images of nuclear mushroom clouds. She aims for a quiet sense of foreboding, to harness the delicate nature of the medium, capturing ginormous, fleeting moments of history in a consuming and meticulous manner.

Able, is a depiction of the Atom bomb test that took place on Bikini Atoll on 1st July 1946 by the USA. Part of Operation Crossroads, 167 indiginous people were relocated from Bikini Atoll to Kili Island with the understanding they could return in 2-3 months. Many were still exposed to radiation and children played in the dust from the fall out on nearby Islands like snow. In 1998 the International Atomic Energy Agency report found that Bikini was still not safe for habitation, because of dangerous levels of radiation.

Castle Bravo was the largest thermonuclear device ever detonated by the United States, on 1st March 1954. When Bravo blew, it formed a fireball almost four and a half miles across within a second. The Hydrogen bomb was 250% more explosive than was expected and became famous for raining nuclear fallout down on inhabited islands, over a hundred miles downwind, it also exposed a crew of Japanese fishermen to fatal levels of radiation.

Silverpoint is a traditional drawing technique used before graphite was discovered. Having studied silverpoint drawings by old masters such as Da Vinci and Dürer, Kirsty was incredibly impressed with the fine detail that could be achieved and decided to learn how to use the medium. The gesso surface, on the oak panel, have to be as perfect as possible to allow the finest strokes from the sharpened, pure silver wire. Decisiveness is key when using the technique as lines cannot be rubbed out once laid down. The drawings are literally made of silver particles, alluding to romantic notions that art is alchemy and something can come from nothing.

Harris's work is held in numerous private collections in the UK and abroad including The Museum of Everything (a collaborative piece with Margaret Frethey) She is a member of xvi collective and collaborates as one half of performance duo Harris & Clarke.





born: 1978, England


Cass School of Art, London Guidhall University, BA/Hons Fine Art, 2002

selected awards/honors

WW Solo Award, shortlisted 2013

selected publications

The State of Art, Representational and Abstract, Barehill Publishing, 2013
IN NUMBERS, BRG Collective, 2013
La Petite Muerte, exhibition publication, 2012
This is not the gallery, ALAS Group residency, 2012

selected group shows

Foam, touring PN Project Space, AND/OR, Banner Repeater, Spike Island & Wysing Arts Centre, 2014
The Reversing Machine - Palindrone Jukebox, The Teley, Leeds, 2014
Atomic, Transition Gallery offsite project, London, 2013
Secret Histories, Sluice Art Fair, London, 2013

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