Artist Gregor Harvie uses his creative practice to push the boundaries of understanding, tackling the most complex and controversial questions of our time and challenging popular opinion.
Academically trained to the highest level in both art and science, he harnesses the power of thought experiments, visualisations and material expression to create bodies of work that are both seductive pieces of art and confrontational criticisms of society.
In his current work, the result of many years of research and contemplation, Gregor challenges the preserve of physics, questioning society’s faith in the power of numbers. He argues that maths has failed to explain any of the fundamental forces which form our world, and it is time for a new approach.
Throughout history, societies have used art to map the heavens, reveal the gods, conjure the past and predict the future. Art has evoked emotions and spread beliefs. It extrapolates from what is known to conject what is not.
Gregor’s large-scale expressive works investigate the subatomic world, but rather than being illustrations of physics, they are explorations of the underlying ideas. Physics is the muse, not the subject. He takes the few principles that can be undisputedly accepted and from those, conceives new visual interpretations that juxtapose pairs and opposites, particles and waves, interactions, impacts and revelations in indivisible quantum of space and time. Each piece is conceived as a single vision, a window framing this fascinating subject from a unique perspective. No single image can yet express a complete solution, they can only give fragments of ideas, of imagined worlds.
His paintings are accompanied by logic poems exploring the relationships between unresolved and sometimes contradictory concepts. These word equations are unconstrained by grammatical structure or the dogma of numbers and are developed in parallel with the paintings, helping steer the creative decision-making process and opening a second path for the viewer to understand the images they accompany.
Painting #2112 - 122cm x 122cm acrylic on 2 panels
| quantum ≈ indivisible |
| pair ≠ opposite ≈ balance ≈ (cancel) |
solid ∴ mass ∴ attract | path + interact = distort |
|(revert / return) ≠
| concentrate ≈ agglomerate | diffuse² |
relate | (autonomous / alone) |
| absolute ≠ ambiguous | unknown ≠ unknowable |
Alzheimer’s is a complex video animation featuring the life of Eileen Dyson, an actress who appeared in 6 episodes of Morecambe and Wise’s BBC show ‘Double Six’. The animation tracks Eileen’s optimistic experience of living with Alzheimer’s and challenges our perception of the disease. It was developed with input from Eileen’s family as well as metaphysician Dr Kim Jobst, the Psychology Department at Bristol University, and Baroness Susan Greenfield.
Gene Meme involved 50 abstract paintings representing the proliferation of life and 50 elegies exploring the over-exploitation of natural resources by civilisations throughout history. Installed in the Crypt under St Pancras Parish Church in London, it focussed on the highly controversial issue of population growth and was accompanied by a public debate chaired by broadcaster Geoff Watts and featuring zoologist and broadcaster Aubrey Manning. Sales of paintings raised money for the charity Street Child Africa. Each painting sold allowed a child to be taken off the streets and given an apprenticeship, clothes and a place to live for a year.
‘Constructed’ was an installation of 50 portraits suspended on trapeze wires in the National Centre for Circus Arts, a converted combustion chamber behind Hoxton Square in London. An exposé of the much-misunderstood process of abstraction, each set of trapezes presented a series of portraits of the same subject, starting in the same way from the same viewpoint. But each subsequent painting was developed to reveal something new, and in so doing, the sequences became progressively more abstract, moving beyond any semblance of literal representation to expose more insightful underlying truths.
Ploughed land was held in the elegant Flying Colours gallery in Chelsea. Presented by gallerist Lena Boyle, the show challenged modern interpretations of the British landscape. Often romanticised and idealised in art, Gregor instead presented contemporary landscapes as human-made products, exploited and defaced by progressive intervention over thousands of years – even in the most remote and apparently wild places.
Gregor was the trouble-shooter for the design and construction of the controversial Millennium Dome in Greenwich for four years, working with architects such as Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid, and artists such as Anish Kapoor. He worked on the delivery of 10 installations at the Dome, including the Rest Zone, a contemplative, immersive experience of art and sound, featuring Artangel’s 1,000-year composition ‘Longplayer’.
Gregor is a qualified architect, with a BSc in architectural studies, a BArch and a PhD in fluid dynamics. He was trained to paint one-to-one by a professional artist throughout his childhood and has a post graduate diploma in Fine Art from the City & Guilds of London Art School where he was awarded the de Laszlo Foundation Prize for Portraiture. He has exhibited in numerous group shows, and his work has been shown at Art London, Fresh Art, the London Art Fair and the Affordable Art Fair.
He is the creator of Designing Buildings, an online collaborative vocabulary and knowledge base used by 7 million people a year.