Joann Harrah

Artist Statement:
"The fluidity of stories and personal biography are what interest me. Threads of family history and traditional imagery are often compounded in my work, subverting one another to find an inventive way to describe personal biography. While the work remains charming and sincere, the subversion often leads to something surprisingly discerning or even dubious.

"Without the mind's collected stories of the past, one would be living in a void. It is this collected information that constantly informs us and who we are at any given moment. The waxing and waning of this information, or stories, is the mind's relationship with behavior and thought. As well as provides continuity to the perceived life for the individual.

"Yet more specifically it is the mind's collective memory of family history that influences my work. I'm engaged in finding ever more inventive ways to chronicle this idea of lineage. These often overlapping narratives of family are fluid, sinuous and poetic in nature. And they are always informed by a larger culture or tradition. I use my own family, and my immediate access to them for information, as the primary resource for my art. This information is often verbal, written, or remembered, or comes in the form of collected vernacular photography. As a means of visual storytelling, this information then goes through various processes of fabrication and structure. Until I have a piece where the information, or stories, have formed their own visual habitat."


Joann Harrah is a contemporary artist who lives and works in New York. She received her BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2003. She was dedicated to the program, where skilled craftsmanship and vigorous art theory was emphasized. She received The Hazel Haynes Schmitkons Scholarship for Excellence in Painting, and shortly after CIA her work was included in a show at M% Gallery. Harrah went on to Queens College for her MFA She studied there with several professors who are associated with the feminist art movement, and completed her degree with the highest academic score in the program. In 2008 she had a solo exhibition at the Mooney Center Gallery, The College of New Rochelle, New York. She has exhibited widely in New York and the United States. Harrah has maintained her studio in New York City since 2005.



Brooklyn, NY

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