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Questioning the Values
Expansion of the media culture in the 21st century opened a vast number of ways in which the information can be delivered. For that reason, every individual can be a part of the online media platform; this can invoke a question of the reliability of information offered. Pondering upon the possibility of distorting information on the Internet, especially through the images that can be found online, Tomas Harker creates art that relies heavily on questioning this phenomenon.
“I’ve always been analytical, always trying to make sense of things; this is wrapped up with the work I make.”
Inspired by the imagery found online, Harker represses the original image and purposefully leaves out information in his artwork, creating a sense of ambiguity. Using mainly oil on canvas or panel as his preferred medium to work with, the artist includes a lot of personal exploration: his artwork is a critique of the way images affect where we place value and of the fractured unreliability of contemporary media culture.
After making preparatory drawings and planning out the work, Tomas often obscures the subject matter, making it less clear. Using either a contemporary or a classical image that inspires him, the artist chooses to give it a whole new meaning: if it’s a contemporary one, he changes and repositions it as a physical, material painting, and if it’s a classical one, he blurs and represses their given significance in art history.
“I’m drawn to a color palette of grays and muted tones, they have a way of focusing you in, but also seem historical, like the aesthetics of black and white photo.”
Exploring uncertainties, Harker provokes the viewer to think about whether there is an intrinsic meaning to the painting other than what we make it. He awakens in the viewer a strong urge to apply his individual reasoning and meaning to the painting that is incomprehensible.
“I want the work to be independent enough to not force a particular message.”
Tomas Harker doesn’t force a certain reading, the subjects in his work can mean different things for every viewer, fully inspiring them to draw their own associations. That way, his artwork gives a valuable lesson for its public: finding peace in acceptance that some things will remain uncertain.