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
Born 1990 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Lives and works in London
BA Fine Art - Leeds Arts University – 2015-2018
MA Painting – Royal College of Art – 2018-2020
The LightBox gallery and museum – Woking 2019 (forthcoming)
A Sea in Suspense – bo.lee Gallery – London 2019
Kingdom - MAZE Gallery - London 2018
Wonderland - Gosh Gallery - Newark 2015
Selected Group Shows
There’s something about PAINTING – Tatjana Pieters – Gent, Belgium 2019
Open Call - Delphian Gallery – London 2019
Ingram Collection Finalists exhibition - Cello Factory – London 2018
Manchester Art Fair – Manchester 2018
SYZYGY – Leeds Arts University – Leeds 2018
CITE - bo.lee gallery - London 2018
Flux - Chelsea College of art - London 2017
Group Show - Arusha Gallery - Edinburgh 2017
Curious Cabinets - Yorkshire Artspace - Sheffield 2016
Manchester Contemporary Art Fair - Manchester 2016
Annual show - Bank Street Arts - Sheffield 2015
Ingram Collection Purchase prize – 2018 Winner
March 2017 - Create Magazine
November 2016 - Aesthetica Magazine
November 2016 - Art Nouveau Magazine/Blog
October 2016 - allmagnews
October 2016 - FAD Magazine
August 2016 - Saatchi Art 'One to Watch' interview
October 2015 - Saatchi Art: 7 Essential Steps to Collecting Emerging Art
July 2015 - British Vogue Magazine
July 2015 - Fresh Paint Magazine Article
March 2015 - 'Artist of the day' - Saatchi Art
August 2014 - Exposed Magazine