Skidmore Contemporary Art at Bergamot Sation in Santa Monica offers a solo exhibit featuring the paintings of Tracey Sylvester Harris. Her new exhibition, “The Face of Love,” celebrates work which will be premiering in the new movie with the same name set to open on March 7th. This is an incredible opportunity for any artist, as well as a wonderful platform for the whole world to be introduced to the art of Tracey Sylvester Harris.

SPOW-Skidmore-TraceySylvesterHarrisee image: Tracey Sylvester Harris, Looking Out to Sea, 2009, Oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″

Here’s how it all happened…direct from the gallery’s website….The Face of Love stars Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams and a surprising costar -15 paintings by Tracey Sylvester Harris (no relation to the actor). Director Arie Posin uses the paintings to illustrate the transformative power of love after devastating loss. After divorce, artist turned art teacher Tom Young (Ed Harris) meets and falls for a widow (Annette Bening) while teaching a class. The relationship inspires him pick up his brushes again and paint amazing, large format figure paintings, created in real life by California artist Tracey Sylvester Harris.

After receiving the call that her work was chosen for the movie and recovering from the initial shock, T. S. Harris says it made perfect sense to her. “I always pictured my alter ego in the studio as a serious bad ass. Ed Harris is brilliant casting in my mind!” she replied. Tom Denolf, the co-producer whose daunting task it was to find the artwork to match the character of Tom Young (Ed Harris), scoured hundreds of LA galleries in search of work that would meet the script criteria, namely that the paintings be figurative, large, painterly, reminiscent of Eric Fischl, but with a Southern California vibe. The artwork of T.S. Harris, found at Skidmore Contemporary Art in Bergamot Station, fit the bill. Hundreds of galleries, dozens of meetings, and three weeks later, T. S. Harris got the voice mail she still has on her machine, “You’re it! We’re looking forward to working with you!”

In her paintings, T.S. Harris presents a dazzling vision of California that merges the past with the present. In an ironic twist, two recurring themes are her love of water and her love of Hollywood. The series of paintings entitled Lost Holiday are inspired by found, black and white photos from the forties and fifties.

SPOW-Skidmore-tracey-sylvester-harris-beach-in-winteree image: Beach in Winter (The Face of Love) 2010 Oil on canvas 60″ x 48″

The paintings transform long forgotten memories into vibrant light and color. Although bright, the paintings are bittersweet in their depictions of fleeting moments of summer captured almost a lifetime ago. In the Noir series, she experiments with imagery from films made in that same time period. These paintings depict women mostly as torsos, or cropped stills. Suspended in time, they have been captured smoking, waking, sleeping, and sitting in contemplation. With the context of their actions removed, the women become mysterious. Dressed in swimsuits or lingerie, they are alluring not for their bodies, but the secrets they hold. Looking closely at the paintings however, reveals her true theme- how precious and fleeting our moments in the sun are.

On view: March 1st – February 22nd

Where: Skidmore Contemporary Art, Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Ave., D-2 Santa Monica, 90404
When: Gallery hours, Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Phone: 310-828-5070
Website: http://www.skidmorecontemporaryart.com