Bio + CV
Jen P. Harris make images, objects and installations that originate in consideration of technology, Western imperialism and ecological urgency as intersecting subject matters. Inspired by buried narratives, disappearing species, and figures, cultures and images marginalized or excluded from the canons of history and art, Harris uses her work to question dominant myths and articulate Information Age riddles. Her background is in the discipline of painting but the form of her output has expanded beyond the rectangle to include tessellating structures and dimensional objects of wood and metal. These physical forms become matrices for layered, richly colored paintings in which divergent subject matters coexist, pointing to a contemporary condition that is part multi-narrative convergence and part technological state.
Harris holds a BA in Studio Art from Yale University and an MFA in Painting from Queens College CUNY (2008). She has exhibited work across the United States at venues including Daniel Cooney Fine Art (NYC), the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, and the University of Kansas, and her work is included in public and private collections. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including a Painting Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2012. Harris has served as a visiting lecturer or instructor at institutions including the University of Iowa, Mount Mercy University, the Wassaic Project, Booklyn Artists Alliance, and the Iowa City Press Coop. She is currently on the Board of Public Space One in Iowa City.
Organizing and curatorial projects are an integral part of Harris's creative life. Most recently she co-organized Nasty Women in Iowa, a remarkably successful art show and fundraiser for women's health organizations in the Midwest. From 2010 to 2012 she hosted and facilitated the Hudson Incubator, a monthly house-based salon for working writers and artists living in Hudson, NY. In 2012, Harris co-founded Hudson Independent Artists, a consortium of artists working together to organize public open studios and independent exhibitions.
In parallel with her studio art practice Harris works as a designer. Since 1999 she has collaborated with theaters, poets, and musicians on numerous projects. From 2005 to 2012 she founded and directed Black Sheep Heap, a small apparel design company with a focus on the politics of food. Under the umbrella of Black Sheep Heap, she collaborated with Just Food, a New York City-based not-for-profit organization. Harris currently works part-time as a user experience designer for CivicActions, a digital services agency founded on a fundamental desire to change the way the world works.