March 25 - July 23, 2017 | Rankin West Gallery

Ronna S. Harris was trained in the warm and cool palette and philosophy of impressionism. Her current practice has evolved to a back-and-forth and intertwined relationship between American realism and abstract expression. Formally, her paintings depict still lifes, portraiture, and details pulled from the landscape. Conceptually, Harris discloses connections between all three. Inside Looking Out / Outside Looking In celebrates this and many other diverging and converging relationships in her work through an exhibition of twenty oil paintings.

Through a proficient understanding of light and skillful mark-making, Harris’ paintings serve as windows into the intimate, connective details of nature, objects, and humanity. A window rendered within the painting may serve as a backdrop for other subjects, or the physical frame of the painting itself may serve as a window into nature. One painting may place the viewer inside, allowing for one to look outward, while another places the viewer outside, allowing for one to reflect inward.

Harris paints these windows both literally and figuratively. Some imagery has purpose and clear meaning, but sometimes objects, figures, and scenes tell a deeper story. Her creative process is ever-shifting between the desire to paint skillfully, tell a story inspired by true events, show the relationships between sexuality and nature, interpret the symbolism of everyday objects, capture what she sees right in front of her, or reveal the meanings of what lies beyond what we initially see.

Harris is a contemporary artist who lives and travels between Blowing Rock, New Orleans, and California. She earned her Masters of Fine Art in painting from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is an Associate Professor in the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane University in New Orleans. Harris has exhibited her work in galleries and museums across the country, from California to New York and across the southeast region. Her last exhibition in the High Country was in 2006 at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone.

Image Credit: Ronna Harris. The Actress, What Kind of Fool am I? Oil on canvas. Courtesy the artist.