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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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  • “Sea Grass”Sea Grass

    Grass in a mountain stream in Mt. Robson NP in British Columbia. Digitally imaged, printed on metallic coated paper, laminated under UV filtering acrylic. 10" x 10".

  • “Sea Grass”Sea Grass

    Grass in a mountain stream in Mt. Robson NP in British Columbia. Digitally imaged, printed on metallic coated paper, laminated under UV filtering acrylic. 10" x 10".

  • “Flames in the Ether”Flames in the Ether

    An abstract of sky, ice, and fire. Reminiscent of a Robert Frost poem on the end of the world. Digitally imaged, printed on metallic coated paper, laminated under UV filtering acrylic. 20" x 30".

David Harrison

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artist bio

Born in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood in 1943, I moved with my family to a new suburban home in an authentic pasture setting. From an eight-room schoolhouse in Elm Grove, I graduated from a 36 room St. Mary’s Grade School as one of 120 students in the eighth grade. My education continued at St. Francis Seminary on the Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Having taught grade school at two diocesan parishes, I began my long 32-year career as an English instructor at Arrowhead High School in Hartland Wisconsin.
My early summer years were spent backpacking in the mountains of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah. After joining the Chicago Mountaineering Club in 1983, I started rock climbing and spent many expeditions climbing in the mountains of Alaska, Peru, Bolivia, Tajikistan, Siberia, British Columbia and the Yukon. I edited the Chicago Mountaineer for several years as well as a creative writing journal for my high school during this time.
During my teaching years, I studied theater staging and lighting at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The influence of this experience led to my work in my high school’s drama productions, the Lake Country Players and the Waukesha Civic Theater. I became the first president of the Nordic Ski Club of Milwaukee when I began developing cross-country ski trails for the Department of Natural Resources in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest. I avidly competed at cross-country ski races throughout the Midwest and completed 13 American Bierkebeiner ski races in Hayward Wisconsin. My ski experience led to my participation on the USSA Central Division Board of Directors.
I amassed a collection of 35mm mountaineering slides that exceed 15,000 pictures. In addition I found subject matter in noted gardens and the work of Will Radler, noted rosarian, at a time when the digital revolution was developing.
I had always wanted to print my photos for framing, but my busy life style prevented me from accomplishing it until I visited Skagway Alaska in the summer of 2004. It was in an art gallery that I discovered the wonders of software manipulation and the technical artistry available through archival printing.
After I retired in 2000, I began digitizing my slide collection for photographic reproduction on computer; but now, I employ these pictures in my creative process in art.
Since 2005, I have been experimenting with design, color, light, shadows, layers of images, movement for the sheer pleasure of it. I told my sister, Susan Voegeli – a noted Wisconsin artist, that I want to do this art for the mere pleasure of doing it. But now I just want to see how far I can go with it.
As I move into each year, I have up to 20 art shows in the Midwest. During each fall and winter, I search for new expressions and presentations that incorporate fresh ideas into my work.

artist statement

My work with digital imaging is a reminder of my love affair with high altitude climbing. After I retired from teaching English in a high school and recovering from a disastrous expedition to Kluane National Park in the Yukon, I discovered digital imaging at a small gallery in Skagway, Alaska . Soon afterwards, I discovered Adobe Photoshop and slide scanners and digital cameras.
As long as I remember, I have immersed myself in color. For me, this affinity evokes drama – a direct influence of my theatrical lighting and stagecraft background for composition and effect. From natural settings, my work evolves into complex abstract derivatives of selected images and then into multiple layered images – a sort of photographic surrealism – if you will.
I relish pulsing colors, lines of light, shadows, movement of light. I want my images to dance, with a continuous unfolding to revel in the hidden nuances of the power found in these settings. I want the unusual juxta-positionings of colors to not only bathe but also seduce the viewer. But most of all the results become a re-discovery of drama, emotion, and color.
Each image is produced in concert with a professional lab in Milwaukee that employs a state of the art Durst Lambda printer using a RGB laser to etch brilliant colors on a metallic substrate. The print is bonded between a 3mm layer of PVC and a 95% UV filtering 3mm layer of acrylic. Every image is uniquely printed as a Limited Edition Print.