Critical Writing and Reviews

Winter 2016
Danielle Krysa via Fresh Paint

“From the moment I started writing “The Jealous Curator”, way back in February of 2009, my tagline has been “Damn, I wish I thought of that.” Almost seven years have passed, and I still use that punch to the creative gut when deciding what to write about each day – and that’s exactly how I approached this challenge too. It was far from easy, but I trusted my instincts and slowly but surely the pages of this issue were filled. From simple abstracts to detailed portraits, my taste runs the gamut. The one unifying factor? Damn, I wish I thought of everything in here!” (click for full article)

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June 2015
A. Will Brown via Daily Serving

There is a profound stillness in Carla Jay Harris’ photographs—her framing and shooting style emits a pervasive calm that quiets the anxiety of her subject matter. Harris’ ability to create silence amid moments of emotional upheaval is eerie, tense, and evocative. Two bodies of work portray people and places in the midst of economic and cultural change; Dirt, Dust, Sand, Concrete (2012–2015) shows Smithfield, Virginia, amid a corporate buyout, and Culture of Desperation (2012) portrays a struggling record company during lean times. (click here for full article)

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April 2015
In Conversation with Aimee Santos: 
Carla Jay Harris: Visual Anthropologist

Carla Jay Harris works diligently, contemplating her final body in her studio at the UCLA Graduate Studios in Culver City, CA.  At first glance the back wall tricks the eye into seeing a repetitive pattern of wallpaper, but upon closer inspection the design and images are intentionally meaningful.  

Harris works off of her own history, both genetic and racial.  There is a message that she wants the viewer to hear, but it's a message they realize through their own experience.  However, with the events going on in the United States regarding police violence and racial inequality one can't help but tie the two together.  

Either way when the viewer walks into Harris' Thesis show on April 30th they will choose to interpret what they will from the years of work she has put into it all.  The defining revelation will be if the viewer remembers the day after and the day after that about the lessons they might have interpreted through her work?  History is only repeated when everyone forgets about it, and Harris has chosen not only to remember but to manifest something so others do not forget as well.

(click here for full article) 

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May 2015
Dail Bruin: Graduate student questions media perception by Emaan Baqai

The perception of a quaint, traditional dining room in Carla Jay Harris’ thesis exhibition is shattered by a closer look at the floral wallpaper that lines the walls.

The wallpaper showcases a bold image of two black males dressed up as gang members for a role in a movie, while another titled “College Gangsta Party” is of several white men in bandanas and white tanks holding paper-bagged bottles of liquor.

Harris, a graduate photography student, said she seeks to juxtapose images in her work to either tell a story or to question one.

“With these images I feel like I’m questioning a running narrative about African American culture that you see in more typical media,” Harris said. “I want to point out that everyone puts on a role, and this role doesn’t necessarily belong to one group or another, questioning the assumption that one (group) owns the gangster image and one doesn’t.”

Harris’ thesis show, “INCONSPICUOUS PRESENCE,” opened Thursday and will run through May 8 in the New Wight Gallery in Broad Art Center.  (click here for full article)

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January 2015
NY Time Review: Respond at Smack Mellon By Holland Cotter

On Dec. 3, a grand jury declined to indict a white New York City police officer for the chokehold death of an unarmed black Staten Island resident, Eric Garner. Anger at the verdict, particularly on the part of AfricanAmericans,  already stung by the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., was intense. Street protests flared across the country in perhaps the largest public display of resistance since the 1960s. 

The same day the Garner judgment came down, one of the biggest contemporary art fairs, Art Basel Miami, opened in Florida. As accounts of demonstrations flooded social media, Art Basel posted breathless reports of strong early sales. For the next five days, dealers stuck to their booths; artists, curators and collectors schmoozed at pools and bars. The only protest came from outraged V.I.P.’s left off the guest list for a Miley Cyrus gig. (click here for full article)