Tomas Harker

Tomas Harker is a painter who renders his subjects with a refinement and brevity of gesture. He paints both classical and contemporary imagery, originally found online; the backgrounds are sparse, and the palette conservative.

The seemingly unconnected nature of his subject matter speaks of the way he encounters and collects it via the vast chasm of social media. This boundless vacuousness of the ocean of information we are barraged with online daily obscures significance through its sheer size, blinding us with information. Heterogeneous found contemporary imagery is appropriated and repositioned, and thus given new meaning, whilst more classical themes are explored in the inverse - by obscuring their historical and cardinal significance. He is an iconoclast who deifies the banal and degrades the iconic, in a statement of critique upon where and how we place value. His juxtaposition of highbrow with lowbrow reconfigures and ultimately destroys the hierarchical paradigms of accepted artistic subject matter, and is a considered attempt to embrace our fallibility.

Often, these juxtapositions suggest some rather piquant parallel - like the painting of the Stanford Prison Experiment placed next to the sixteen paintings of his tutors. This correlation is not serendipitous, but nor is it asserted.

The images are often distorted, obscuring their intrinsic significance whilst simultaneously engendering them with a more contemporary relevance. His mark-making is at times naive, at others precise, displaying a perennial interest in the often absurd contradictions inherent in one’s own self. Harker embraces these idiosyncrasies, and uses these to mirror those he sees in society, and the art world, in general.

By Benjamin Murphy, artist and writer