Kelsey Harrison was born in California in 1989. She received her BFA in Sculpture from Purchase College, State University of New York in 2014. Harrison is a second year graduate student in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work investigates the potential for (and in) misrecognition of convention and form through abstraction, subversion of convention, repetition, and displacement of objects and actors in space. Her work has been shown in institutions nationally including The Jewish Museum, Abrons Art Center, and The Knockown Center in New York, SOMArts in San Francisco, and The College of William and Mary in Virginia. She was the recipient of the PSGA Public Art Grant at SUNY Purchase, and was a 2014-15 resident at Brooklyn Wayfarers Studio Residency, as well as the School of Making Thinking, and Peters Valley.

Personal Statement

I make work that points to the holes in totalizing tendencies, in narratives of permanence and inevitability. To this end, I make objects and videos with an internal logic that resists fixity and certainty:

I built a tree house form that is spatially difficult to share because of its narrow dimensions and whose use is not described by its shape. I built the abstracted form of a non-operative, unfinished curving staircase. I built a billboard that uses only images from stock websites, without text or specificity of purpose (an incomplete use of the advertising convention). In my videos, my protagonists refuse accountability and responsibility. My language circles, folds, and alights, but doesn’t land. My objects suggest structure but resist functionality. These objects and characters take oppositional and frictional positions, self conscious of their failure to deliver what their form suggests they might. In this way, I work with cultural and material conventions and by various methods, break the rules of the convention in such a way that calls the forth the possibility for something else, without inserting in their form a new hegemony into that fissure. I am attempting to embed this oppositional and frictional position in immersive media and architecture with the belief that this type of object can support and construct a flexible subject who embraces complexity.

Resistance to fixity is an ideological and political position. In a world built on uncertainty and flexibility, nothing can be simply “as it is and should be” and everything appears as temporary. Things and structures appear as processes, not as essences.

Positing slipperiness or incomprehensibility as a foundational ideological principle would undermine ideas of determination and essentiality of class, status, self, world order, and economy. I oppose this logic to the dominant ideology of mastery over chaos, nature, and the self that has resulted in an enforcement of strict social norms of behavior and an ethos of domination over the environment and others. If the dominant suggestions of ideology are toward certainty, absolute truth, and non- complexity, my work asks: what would resistance to fixity look like as a world organizing aesthetic principle?


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Insitute.