Born, 1966, New York, New York
Lives and works in New York
Rachel Harrison is interested in the act of looking and of comprehending (or not)
the entire visual field that surrounds us. Perth Amboy is a series of photographs of a
window in a suburban New Jersey house upon which an apparition of the Virgin Mary
reportedly appeared. In this work, Harrison explores the transition from experience to
belief through the vehicle of the art object. Her photographs record the accumulation of
smudged marks from the multitude of hands of the faithful who visited the house and,
whether or not they saw an apparition, found something to believe in on a windowpane.
Perth Amboy is not simply a document about the limits of faith or the irrationality of
belief, but also a deeper query into the power of human desire to believe and to transfer
that belief into something tangible. Harrison's sculptures, combining biomorphic and
geometric abstract forms with found objects and video, also address her interest in the
leap of faith involved in the experience of an art object. Intentionally thwarting easy
reading, she sets up mysteries, encouraging the viewer to look actively, both physically
and conceptually, and to follow her allusive clues into niches, behind walls, and through
Anton, Saul, and Bruce Hainley. "Bear Necessities: The Art of Rachel Harrison." Artforum 41, no. 3 (November 2002): 162–69.
Arning, Bill. "The Harrison Effect." Trans>arts.cultures.media, no. 7 (1999): 168.
Currents 30: Rachel Harrison. Exhibition catalogue. Milwaukee, Wisc.: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2003.
Molesworth, Helen. "Rachel Harrison." Documents 21 (Fall–Winter 2002): 49–54.
Rachel Harrison: File Notes. Exhibition catalogue. London: Camden Arts Centre, 2004.
Arndt & Partner