- ARTIST STATEMENT -
"The purpose of my artwork is to provoke a perceptual, internal, and intellectual response for the viewer, a visual that speaks to life's experiences. To create symbols of universal connection and the relationship that one has to another and to nature.
Furthermore, art conveys my nonverbal view of life. An ongoing portrayal of myself, my behavior, adventure, exploration, risk taking, and my non-acceptance of convention and the status quo. I am continually in search of the new, the different, and I am fascinated with the unconventional. Life has a hard, aggressive side, as does much of my work, represented by rigid, angular lines. However, the soft side is also apparent, visible as curves and soft forms.
I used the invaluable experience of the mentorship of Bill Prokopiof and Doug Hyde, along with my own vision, to create an evolving body of work in alabaster, marble, limestone, and bronze, often combining different elements to bring forth a duality in the sculpture that I make. My work is included in private and public collections
Mark Yale Harris realized his passion in the Southwest; stone carving became his life’s work, as Santa Fe became home in the late 1990s. Dedicating himself to creating in 1996; with much to learn, the artist chose a mentor who he had long admired to assist with honing his burgeoning artistic skills, sculptor Bill Prokopiof (Aleut, 1944-1999). In the spirit the nation’s most recognized Native American artist, Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache, 1915-1994), Prokopiof and sculptor Doug Hyde (Nez Perce), took Harris under their wings, generously sharing their immense knowledge, talent, and vision. Inspired by the geographical region and grounded in the knowledge of his teachers, he began feverishly creating sculpture.
Transitioning into the life of a full-time artist required Harris’s passion to become his profession as well. Prior to developing as an artist, Harris spent many years in the area of sustainable urban development (specifically real estate and hotels), a conventional career in which he was quite successful, but not fully satisfied. The transition into a wholly fulfilling trade, was both challenging and exciting. The artistic passion that had existed just beneath the surface of Harris’s long-established business persona was finally able to present itself in tangible form. He accessed the invaluable experience of his mentors, along with his own vision, to create an evolving body of work in alabaster, marble, limestone, and bronze, often combining different elements to bring forth a duality through creation.
Over the past twelve years Harris has continued to challenge himself as a sculptor, finding it important to continue learning and teaching. Several intensive workshops, including studies with Terry Allen, Jo Harvey and James Surls, have expanded his understanding immensely. Harris’s charitable endeavors have been numerous; he sites his work with Fine Art for Children and Teens (FACT) in Santa Fe, New Mexico as especially gratifying.
In 2006, the artist challenged himself to create tabletop-sized maquettes in monumental proportions. The first piece in this scale, Crush (61″x80″x20.5″), was met with rave reviews from critics and art afficionados alike. Due to Harris’s ongoing examination of the sculptural form and progress within his medium, his work continues to be widely sought after and exhibited by reputable art venues.
Current works can be found in many public collections, including: Booth Western Art Museum – Cartersville, Georgia; Herman Memorial Hospital – Houston, Texas; State of New Mexico – Ruidoso, New Mexico; Four Seasons Hotel – Chicago, Illinois; and Thompson Crossing Sculpture Park – Fort Collins, Colorado. Furthermore, Harris’s sculpture has recently been featured at the Open Air Museum – Ube, Japan; Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art – Biloxi, Mississippi; Polk Museum of Art – Lakeland, Florida; City of Roanoke Historic District – Roanoke, Virginia; and The Village Green Sculpture Park – Cashiers, North Carolina. Harris’s sculpture is represented by twenty galleries nationwide. Additionally, Mark Yale Harris, A Retrospective was published in 2006, and an updated version was reprinted in 2008. This book documents the important works created thus far in this sculptor’s career.