October 4 – November 10, 2007
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of sculpture and works on paper by Katrina Moorhead. Dealing with themes of beauty, temporality, failure, and optimism, Moorhead’s exhibition will be anchored by a pair of beautifully crafted car doors. Monumentalizing Jon DeLorean’s controversial automobile factory in Belfast, the doors lay lifeless on the gallery floor. Constructed in the late 1970s and aided by British government incentives, the factory was designed at the height of political and religious tensions in the region. As such, the factory was designed with two entrances: one for Catholics and one for Protestants. Once inside, workers came together to assemble DeLorean’s highly futuristic sports car but, despite the joining of efforts, the plant was soon closed partly due to a poor business model and partly due to fraud that had gone undetected by DeLorean’s auditors. In the sculpture On or about December 1981, the artist lovingly recreates these gull wing doors out of wood. The abstracted forms and their gesture, akin to that of clipped wings, are a tribute to the workers and the events that loomed large while the artist was growing up in Northern Ireland.
Like Moorhead’s sculpture, the drawings create a sense of emptiness and longing. In The Issue of the Nineties, Moorhead has rendered the first page of Dave Hickey’s famous essay on beauty as if were an illustrated manuscript. The words float in white across the page elevating the contemporary text to a devotional object. In another work titled You Sat Alone, the artist paints a white curtain on blue paper. The curtain shows a beautiful landscape punctuated with repeating birds, ironically making the window covering a substitute for nature itself. As with all of the work in the show, the artist asks us to meditate on what is in front of us: whether it be a past, our present, or the future.