Activating the Surface: Paul Harris

08.03.2023 – 10.01.2023

exhibition sponsors

Diane Boyer Jerhoff

Montana Art Gallery Directors Association (MAGDA)
Montana Arts Council
Montana Cultural Trust
National Endowment for the Arts

Charles M. Bair Family Gallery & Northwest Projects Gallery

August 3 – October 1, 2023

Through the years, Paul Harris returned to his wax and pigment drawings with subjects ranging from still lifes to abstracts, from figures to landscapes and many more in between. Although known as a sculptor, his go-to medium remained the art crayon.

Harris’ drawings pulsate with energy as the movement he puts into the pieces, etched into the composition, can be felt as much today as the moment they were created. The lines, nearly frantic with color, keep the eye traveling, yes, but they also keep the mind engaged in the images, searching, reaching, in continuous dialog with the viewer.

Harris, always concerned with pattern and texture, understands the spatial relationship inherent in a finite drawing. These pieces, intimate and compelling, relay an accessible, inspirational narrative.

Harris said about his use of crayons, “I remember in sixth grade the teacher wanted a lot of things made that she would use the next year and the next, I didn’t do much work in her class except make these big drawings. I became very accustomed to crayons, and I’ve never been able to let them go. Crayons are still my best friends in making drawings. I don’t think it will ever end.”

The YAM exhibition will also feature bronze sculptures on loan from the Paul Harris and Marguerite Kirk Gallery and an example of Harris’s most known life-size stuffed and upholstered female figures from the permanent collection.


This exhibition is sponsored by the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association (MAGDA), a state-wide service organization for non-profit museums & galleries, and supported in part by grants from the Montana Arts Council, a state agency funded by the State of Montana; coal severance taxes paid based upon coal mined in Montana and deposited in Montana’s Cultural and Aesthetic Projects Trust Fund; and the National Endowment for the Arts.