Rebecca D. Harris is an artist, collaborator, researcher & educator based in Marazion, Cornwall. Her work explores science, humour, textiles and the body. After graduating with a first class BA in Fine Art Practice, at Plymouth College of Art, Rebecca went straight on to complete an intense two-year full-time Masters degree at Plymouth University. Following her graduation the artist has gone on to publish her inter-disciplinary research, give artist talks and research presentations around the UK and most notably, in 2018, The School of Anthropology at Oxford University. Her work has been sold globally and is in a permanent exhibition for her commissioned work 'Symbiosis' at the world renowned site Eden Project in her native Cornwall. Inspired by the biomedical sciences Rebecca has worked with esteemed medical researchers in collaborative projects to create her accessible and engaging textile works. At the fore is a passion for the artworks to be visceral, tactile, meaningful and educating. Rebecca continues to explore and enquire what it is to be female.
"Many artists who appropriate the methods and materials of textiles, talk of nostalgic memories and experiences of female heritage passing on their craft. I, however, have no such backstory. For me, it was a self-discovered affair emerging from my teenage years and an oasis of which I still retreat into some 30 years later.
In 2012, during the formative years of my Masters degree, I cancelled a scheduled gastric bypass; leading to a pivotal moment of which key works developed from the intensified awareness of my then abjectified body. The experience forged my engagement with the female body as my artistic expression. My own body is often, but not exclusively, utilised as an axis for research, adopting an autoethnographic approach to speak of universal issues and not just of the biographical. Furthermore, the viewer's body is a tool for further engagement through the everyday familiarity of the materials and objects. It is a site to physically experience the evocative assemblages and tactile stitching which viscerally empathises the body.
The subtle, layered meanings and interpretations of my terse constructions, offer accessible autonomous artworks through the familiarity and affective potential of textiles. Pulled, manipulated, sculpted and embroidered fabrics are a site of communicating its message. Methods are not only a ‘thinking through making’ approach but also a multidisciplinary arts-based collaborative research model.
Where textiles are used as a concealing veil, I use them to reveal; uncovering the universal lived experiences through biomedical, psychosocial and feminist explorations."
2011-13 , MA in Contemporary Art Practice, Plymouth University
2010-11, BA (hons) first class, Fine Art Practices, Plymouth College of Art
2009-10, PGCE (PCET inc. DTTLS), Cornwall College
2007, Graduate Diploma of Higher Education in Religious Studies (and other courses), Open University
2003, FdA Fine Art Practice, Cornwall College (first year)
conference contributions & publications
2018, paper presentation and artist’s talk on ‘Obscure Objects of Obesity’ art research project for ‘Embodied methods: Art and social science in dialogue’ at Oxford University
2015, BBC World Service documentary featuring interview and work of the Eden Project commission (plus many other video clips featuring interviews and artwork for the commission)
2015, 'The Politics of Size: Perspectives from the Fat Acceptance Movement' ed. Ragen Chastain (Praeger - an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC), pp. 55-70