In Harry’s exhibition, kitchen talk is mixed with the strange materiality of foreign words and place names encountered on the artist’s extensive travels and from his various family connections. He also uses the figurative forms of language for the shamanic power that habitually resides there, as well as in the transposition and metamorphosis of meaning invoked by anagrams. 

Exhibition Dates: 24 May – 30 June 2007

Slang is the shortcut through language. The smooth formality of language ‘proper’ is swapped for something more unpredictable and unrefined. Perhaps more alive. Tough flourishes of meaning and understanding offer Newell Harry a rich vocabulary, good material with which to work. He deals in the tactility of language and the dirty poetics of elemental things in as much as these things already have a magical quality.

In Harry’s exhibition, Views from the couch, kitchen talk is mixed with the strange materiality of foreign words and place names encountered on the artist’s extensive travels (e.g. from Bislama, the national pidgin dialect of the South Pacific country of Vanuatu) and from his various family connections (e.g. from Afrikaans, the majority language of parts of South Africa and his mother’s mother tongue). He also uses the figurative forms of language—metaphor, assonance, homonym, alliteration—for the shamanic power that habitually resides there as well as in the transposition and metamorphosis of meaning invoked by anagrams.

Words are woven together with a variety of objects and textiles—an investment in impoverished material phenomena— as though they were substantially the same. Writing and spelling can be mistaken for abstract or decorative line and embellishment. Words are flags of subcultural identity—team colours—and have the first encounter aspect of colonial cultural cargo. A group of pandanus mats are tokens of ritual commodity exchange, involved in a discourse with the familiar soiled tools of manual labour (father’s work) and the unfamiliar accents of other artefacts to which speech has not yet become accustomed.

—Amanda Rowell

In 2006, Newell Harry was included in the group exhibition, Our Lucky Country (difference), a MOP Project (curated by Ron and George Adams), at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre. In addition to a number of other awards, in 2002 and 2001 he was a Highly Commended finalist in the New South Wales Ministry for the Arts, Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship at Artspace in Sydney. His work was included in two group exhibitions at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in 2006: Rectangular Ghost (curated by Amanda Rowell) and Stolen Ritual.  His work is held by Newcastle Region Art Gallery, the Ergas Collection as well as a number of private collections in Australia. In September 2007, his work will be included in a group exhibition curated by Aaron Seeto at Campbelltown Arts Centre called News from the Islands. Views from the Couch is Newell Harry’s first solo commercial exhibition and his first exhibition with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

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Newell Harry untitled (No Point Being King Shit of Turd Island), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 122 x 227 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (No Point Being King Shit of Turd Island), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
122 x 227 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Cape Malays / Cape Malaise), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 125 x 214 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Cape Malays / Cape Malaise), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
125 x 214 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Stret Street Sly Store), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 119 x 210 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Stret Street Sly Store), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
119 x 210 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Joe [Jou] Mas A Poes Kombuis Kak Afrikaans), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 126 x 198 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Joe [Jou] Mas A Poes Kombuis Kak Afrikaans), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
126 x 198 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Elsies River Cape Dale Bishop Lavis Cape Malaise), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 104.5 x 203 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Elsies River Cape Dale Bishop Lavis Cape Malaise), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
104.5 x 203 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Kape Koloured Koon Karnival Cape Coloured Kaapse Klopse), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 114.5 x 191 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Kape Koloured Koon Karnival Cape Coloured Kaapse Klopse), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
114.5 x 191 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Stoned Cold Turkey Cape Flats Shacks), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 65.5 x 227 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Stoned Cold Turkey Cape Flats Shacks), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
65.5 x 227 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Pick and Drive Pick and Pay), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 76 x 201 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Pick and Drive Pick and Pay), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
76 x 201 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (Pialuplup Mother Hubbard), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 69 x 199.5 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (Pialuplup Mother Hubbard), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
69 x 199.5 cm; irregular
Newell Harry untitled (The Deep Green Silence), 2007; from the series gift mat; Pandanus and dye; 68.5 x 197.5 cm; irregular; enquire
untitled (The Deep Green Silence), 2007
from the series gift mat
Pandanus and dye
68.5 x 197.5 cm; irregular
Newell Harry The Natives Are Restless, 2006; neon; 10 x 225 cm; Edition of 5 + AP 2; enquire
The Natives Are Restless, 2006
neon
10 x 225 cm
Edition of 5 + AP 2
Newell Harry Untitled (anagram) Che Fare / Her Face, 2006-07; neon, found vessels, spade; dimensions variable; enquire
Untitled (anagram) Che Fare / Her Face, 2006-07
neon, found vessels, spade
dimensions variable
Newell Harry Untitled (anagram) Ginger / Nigger, 2006-07; neon, found vessels; dimensions variable; enquire
Untitled (anagram) Ginger / Nigger, 2006-07
neon, found vessels
dimensions variable
Newell Harry Prophet Fred / John Frum, 2007; gesso and oilstick on 12 sheets of ironed Fabriano paper; 227 x 227 cm; enquire
Prophet Fred / John Frum, 2007
gesso and oilstick on 12 sheets of ironed Fabriano paper
227 x 227 cm
Newell Harry Untitled, 2006; gesso and oilstick on 12 sheets of ironed Fabriano paper; 227 x 227 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2006
gesso and oilstick on 12 sheets of ironed Fabriano paper
227 x 227 cm
Newell Harry Untitled, 2007; gesso, oilstick and ceiling paint on 4 panels of sheets Fabriano paper; 113 x 153 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2007
gesso, oilstick and ceiling paint on 4 panels of sheets Fabriano paper
113 x 153 cm
Newell Harry Untitled, 2005-07; telecommunications cable, twine, hessian gesso, wax, rubber and artist's book; dimensions variable; enquire
Untitled, 2005-07
telecommunications cable, twine, hessian gesso, wax, rubber and artist's book
dimensions variable