a contemporary art gallery in Chicago
Anne Harris: Thirty-nine Eyelids, 1/19/20 – 2/29/20
Anne Harris: Thirty-nine Eyelids, 1/19/20 – 2/29/20

Anne Harris: Thirty-nine Eyelids, 1/19/20 – 2/29/20

Portrait (Pigtails), 2019, oil on panel, 12 in x 12 in.

Anne Harris: Thirty-nine Eyelids

January 19 – February 29, 2020

Opening Reception Sunday, January 19, 3-6pm

*Download a PDF version of the exhibition brochure here: Anne Harris Thirty-nine Eyelids Brochure

Goldfinch is thrilled to announce its first exhibition of the new decade: Thirty-nine Eyelids, a solo exhibition by Anne Harris occupying Galleries I and II. The show features a new body of paintings and a series of drawings, all of which are rooted in–yet deviate imaginatively from–traditions of self-portraiture. The exhibition is on view from January 19 through February 29, 2020. This is Harris’ first large-scale solo exhibition in Chicago.

“The paintings in this show are small invented portraits that evolve from self-portraiture,” says Harris. “I think of them as eyelid paintings.” She further elaborates this idea in a essay written for The Tilted Arc called The Eyelid as Metaphor:

“I had a break-through in my painting when I began thinking metaphorically. It started with a vein in a forehead, then the realization that everything could be vascular. So tendrils of hair became capillary, as did tendrils of light, stripes in a shirt were arterial, a scrunchie hairband a thrombosis. This was a key for me to unlocking invention.

Since then, I know I’m rolling when I’m painting inside a metaphor. The eyelid has been a favorite for many years. After all, what is an eyelid? A beautiful surface that is also visceral, a flap of skin, a membrane—it’s fragile, yet designed to protect something even more so. It’s formless, taking its shape from the thing it covers. When closed, dry covering wet, I imagine the fluid beneath compressing, sliding downward. It functions as opaque but is translucent from the inside, light glowing through, and transparent from the outside, tiny blood vessels on view just under the surface. Stare at a shut eyelid and see pure passivity; but suddenly open—we’re shocked.

I want my paintings to function like an eyelid, veering from dry to wet, inside to outside, opaque to transparent, form to formless, mute to aggressive, space curved outward toward the viewer, held in by fragile surface tension, the picture plane as membrane, the entire painting an eyelid.”

Artist’s Biography: Anne Harris has been painting slowly, and drawing quickly, variants of self-portraiture for the last thirty years. She has exhibited at venues ranging from Alexandre Gallery (NYC), DC Moore Gallery (NYC) and Nielsen Gallery (Boston), to the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, The Portland Museum of Art, the California Center for Contemporary Art and the North Dakota Museum of Art. Her work is in such public collections as The Fogg Museum at Harvard, The Yale University Art Gallery and The New York Public Library. Grants and awards received include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and an NEA Individual Artists Fellowship.

Harris teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She heads the Riverside Art Center’s Exhibition Committee and has curated numerous exhibitions there. She is also the originator of The Mind’s I—a traveling expanding drawing conversation about the universality and malleability of self-perception and drawing. This project began at Julius Caesar Gallery in Chicago (2012) and most recently took place at Espacio Andrea Brunson in Santiago, Chile (August 2019).

Portrait (Someone), 2019. Oil on muslin mounted on panel, 12 x 12 in.
Portrait (Blonde), 2003. 12 x 12 in. Private Collection.


Portrait (Black Necklace), 2020. Oil on panel, 12 x 16 in .


Portrait, 2019. Oil on panel, 12 x 12 in.


Top: Eye Study (Purple Girl), 2020, oil on muslin mounted on panel, 2.5 x 4 in. Bottom: Eye Study (P.C.), 2020, oil on muslin mounted on panel, 3 x 3.5 in.


Portrait (Purple Girl), 2019, oil on panel, 11 x 14 in.


Installation view of drawings from “How to Draw Yourself Out of a Hole,” 2005-06, 22 drawings total, mixed media on paper, sizes range from approximately 11 x 10 in to 12 x 12 in


Drawings from the series “How to Draw Yourself Out of a Hole,” 2005-2006.