The Silva Gallery of Art at The Pennington School will host Lost + Found, an exhibition of paintings and pottery in mixed media by Chris Harford, from Monday, October 31, through Friday, December 9. A reception, open to the public, will be held on Friday, November 11, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The reception will include a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and a performance by his band, Rogue Oliphant, which includes Chris Harford and Ray Kubian. Special guest musicians from The Pennington School’s Batteries Not Included will join the band for a few selections from Rogue Oliphant’s new CD “I Gave the Pope a Rhino.” The program begins at 7:30 p.m.
Harford is a self-taught painter whose style has been characterized as outsider art, abstract expressionist, and naïve art. He believes that many functional objects that have lost their original purpose can be transformed rather than tossed, and he paints on everything from discarded household items found on roadsides and sidewalks to wood from fallen trees. Working primarily with acrylics and oil, he uses collage to integrate cultural references into his pieces. Some pieces are responses to world events, while others are meditations on solitude, music, and families.
For the past 30 years, Harford has incorporated postage stamps into his paintings from a collection amassed throughout his childhood. Some of the stamps date as far back as 1700 and are from countries that no longer exist. His work commemorates these images and icons from art, history, religion, and commerce, transforming them into the feathers of a bird, the bricks in a building, or the leaves in a tree. The pottery pieces are a collaboration with ceramic artist Debbie Reichard.
For this show, he worked almost entirely with repurposed materials, including large 5×6 foot canvases that were thrown out by a local university. Many of the materials had already been painted on, but Harford incorporated that work into his own. He also painted tabletops and wooden boxes found in the trash, and on wood salvaged from an old barn.
Harford was born in Princeton, N.J., and he holds a bachelor’s degree in performance art from the Massachusetts College of Art. He has worked as a musician and singer/songwriter for the past 35 years, and his artwork was first displayed at the gallery of the rock club CBGBs in 1990. Since then, he has exhibited at the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York City and Mercer County Community College.
The Pennington School is an independent coeducational school for students in grades 6 through 12, in both day and boarding programs. The curriculum is college preparatory, with an emphasis on individual excellence, fostering the development of the whole student through academics, athletics, community service, and the creative and performing arts. For further information, call the Silva Gallery at 609–737–4133 or email Gallery Director Dolores Eaton at email@example.com.