“Animula — Big Little Soul” at 11 Jane Street Art Center in Saugerties
SAUGERTIES, New York — Since the early 1980s, Jan Harrison has depicted figures in her art — some human, most animal. In Animula — Big Little Soul, an exhibition of new work on view at the 11 Jane St. Art Center, she presents sculptures made of white porcelain and works on paper employing pastel, ink, and charcoal, with the occasional addition of oil stick.
The paintings are typically two by two-and-a-half feet in size: large enough to include up to six animals and small enough to feel intimate. The sculptures, collectively entitled Tiny Porcelain Sea Creatures and Other Creatures (2019-20), range from three to five inches in length. Suspended from filaments in the back room of the gallery, they hover around the viewer like sparrows or oversized moths, though some represent larger animals — pangolins, wolves, giant squids. Glinting off the smooth surfaces of these objects, the galley lighting intensifies their already vivid presences. The light in Harrison’s works on paper is, of course, imaginary. Figures delineated in incandescent colors emerge from equally bright backgrounds or from a tendril-filled darkness that feels less nocturnal than dreamlike.