Rose Electra Harris: Wild Flowers / Flores Silvestres
April 5 - May 31, 2023
Gobernador José Guadalupe Covarrubias 46, San Miguel Chapultepec
JO-HS is pleased to announce Wild Flowers / Flores Silvestres, a solo exhibition by English artist Rose Electra Harris opening on Thursday 5th April 2023. The exhibition is Rose’s first solo show in Mexico and is curated by female duo Elisabeth Johs and Georgina Pounds.
Wild Flowers, 2023 is comprised of 12 paintings and a selection of watercolors made during Rose’s five-week residency at JO-HS. Collecting memories from her surroundings within Mexico City, and previously also from the States of Oaxaca and the Yucatan, Rose references wildlife, flora, and architecture through color, shape, texture. In her paintings are found both domestic scenes and imagery that flaunt Mexico’s wild nature and urban city.
A room is an oasis; a curated space of collected items, objects, in different colors and forms, and, it is what is in a space that can bring it to life (Rose Harris in conversation, Spring 2023). Like in the work of Shara Hughes, Pierre Bonnard, Gilian Ayres, Stanley Whitney and William Crozier, Rose carefully curates the items within her interiors. She allows us to daydream about who the spaces belong to and how they are activated throughout the day; considering the changes of the light, the warmth of the sunlight and the movement of not only the objects but also of people within the canvases. The architecture and informal courtyard garden of the gallery serendipitously becomes an oasis that could be a part of Rose’s subject matter. It is easy to imagine the scenes come to life. The painting Bosque, 2023 highlights the importance of the careful curation of objects that runs through Rose’s work; the bold palette, the Mexican tiles, the vibrancy of the white flowers against the red of the vase.
Rose’s ability to evoke a memory is achieved through her vibrant use of color, tilted and flattened perspectives and an abundance of pattern and texture. With entangled routes, twisting staircases and paths leading to the skies, Edward James’ Las Pozas in Xilitla illuminates architectural forms within the Mexican jungle to interpret a Garden of Eden. Similarly, Rose’s new paintings produced at JO-HS combine the staircases and architecture of the building with a surrealist tone of the Xilitla gardens. The stairs lead to nowhere and float in spaces of flat color creating depth and mystery. We also see the contemporary Mexican architecture of the Yucatan where columns float on top of existing entablatures and where walls are built within existing walls, adding layers and memories to those from the past. The scale of the works are unrealistic and enlarged, focusing in on the particular architectural details seen in Guadalupe where the staircase at JO-HS is presented as a multi-colored stairwell spiralling upwards and out of the canvas. Similarly in the artwork L.B the bold bright stripes of the vase and the opposing scales of the subject emphasise the surrealist influence that runs throughout this body of work.
The plants of the Botanical Gardens in both Oaxaca City and Mexico City differ to the European floras seen in Rose’s previous bodies of work - often of the English greenhouse or country garden. We see new forms and new imagery; medicinal and ceremonial plants including mesquite, an entire section of the gardens dedicated to traditional food including hierba de conejo, amaranth, corn, jicama, chia and a new greenhouse in the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca with flowering orchids, cacao, and bromeliads together provide an encyclopaedia of ideas for the new paintings. Outside of the gardens, we visualise the flower scenes at the Mercado de Jamaica, and the abundant greenery of Mexico City’s planted avenues. The pastel marks in Rose’s painting are fast paced as if moving with their own identity through the ever-growing city. During her residency Rose worked at an impressive pace, inspired and invigorated by the chaos that is Mexico City. Her powerful works perfectly capture the intensity of Mexico, its colors, its diversity, its ever changing and ever evolving palette.
Rose Electra Harris (UK, 1991) Painter and print-maker working with motifs from domestic and interior spaces including vases of blossoming flowers, patterned jugs, decorative wallpapers and table cloths. Her work reminds us that memory is not always specific to what you see, and that there will always be details that are remembered and others that are misinterpreted. Often, we see impossible scenarios where the negative space acts as an object, or where an object and background become one. Her large-scale canvases engulf us into a dialogue that takes place within the painting.
Rose lives and works in Peckham, South London. She studied Printmaking at Brighton Faculty of the Arts, more recently completing Turps Banana Correspondence Course. Most recently, in March 2023 Rose’s work has been featured at Sothebys, Hong Kong alongside the She has exhibited works in an abundance of female only exhibitions, including a recent show at Sid Motion Gallery in 2022. 'The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram', curated by art historian Katy Hessel, at Mother, London, Choose Love ‘Help Refugee’s, at Somerset House, Dandelion, with Delphian Gallery in Basel, Switzerland and Show of Support curated by Kesewa Aboah in London. Harris has had solo shows with Partnership Editions, The Modern Society and Blue Shop Cottage, London. She participated at an artist residence at Print Club London and won the Bainbridge Open Art Academy Prize.