With their crude figures, rough surfaces, and distorted patterns, Harmony Korine’s paintings emphasize expression over nuance, instability over clarity. He says, “I’m chasing something that is more of a feeling, something more inexplicable, a connection to colors and dirt and character, something looping and trancelike, more like a drug experience or a hallucination.”
The artist is best known as an experimental filmmaker who dissolves boundaries of taste and convention. A unique voice in cinema, Korine tells funny, bizarre, and at times twisted tales of teenaged skateboard slackers, dysfunctional families, alienated souls, sexual outliers, and petty hustlers—social outcasts who populate his vision of the American substrate.
Although they are not as experimental as his films, Korine’s paintings similarly offer up a universe of strangeness. His figurative works have the spontaneity of old-school graffiti, with patches of color, rough textural elements, and random marks providing inspiration for the invention of characters who have the amorphousness of ghosts hovering halfway between the waking and dream worlds. Korine’s abstract pattern paintings are more perceptually disorienting. The warped grids of his Chex series and the radiating circles of the Fazors create spatial anomalies, which approximate the intensity of psychedelic experience.
You can see more of his work at The Frist through January 16.