The Eerily Dissolving Faces of Henrietta Harris

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New Zealand-based illustrator Henrietta Harris, previously featured here, continues to compel the eye with her alluring and dreamily distorted portraits. In her pastel-toned watercolors, she renders the human figure fluid and infinite. Seemingly caught in moments of a romantic introspection bordering on spiritual transcendence, her subjects dissolve into swirls, scribbles, and line.

Here, Harris’s artistic process is inextricably fused with the completed portrait, and the creative act of art making is just as significant as the subject itself. Quick, doodled lines of primary and secondary colors become equally as material and substantial as the multiple-toned and shaded flesh itself, and the artist’s stream of consciousness thrillingly interrupts any objective reflection of reality. Individual identities collapse to form a whirlpool of ecstatic color, and the body itself becomes a cosmic landscape, revolving, twisting, and floating like a strange fleshy galaxy.

The intense movement of Harris’s work is balanced only by her soft, muted colors and the hushed expressions of her subjects. Peering sleepily downwards, her watercolor muses exude a quiet yet concentrated aura, as if lost in a meditative trance. Two-dimensional lines like static electricity course through three-dimensional bodies, slicing their features in two, and still they stare forward resolutely. Deconstructed perhaps by their own imaginations, they surrender themselves to the hand of the artist, which leaps and coils whimsically across the page. Take a look. (via The Inspiration Grid)
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Henrietta Harris’s Drifting Faces

The exquisitely painted portraits of figures with their bodies floating away from them by Henrietta Harris reminds me of those moments when your body is present but your mind drifts away to another place far away with the reality that you’re in. Each figure blankly looks out into the world not seeing what’s in front of them but envisioning another moment and time. (via)

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Henrietta Harris

Henrietta Harris is an Auckland-based artist and illustrator working with watercolour, biro and gouache. Although her work uses traditional techniques, her beautiful portraits retain a modern subject matter and style, and have been used by numerous publications and companies worldwide.

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