Nazar Harran spreads big thoughts across big canvases. His work is bold and shouts for attention.
Once compared to Franz Klein, known for explosions of large strokes in black across surfaces that sometimes include raw materials such as newspaper, Harran’s work is similar in confidence but more subdued and refined than the blasts of energy expelled by Klein. Harran’s shapes and strokes appear to be resting, moving slowly, if at all, as if they are taking a respite after waging some sort of battle, or perhaps his work reflects an energy that is ramping up, getting ready to confront the wild emotions that we all harbor.
A transplant from Iraq who now lives in Fort Wayne, Harran is known for work that commands attention. It is large and each piece gives color a venue to show off its ability to express those things that are nearly impossible to put into words.
One of his older pieces, “Union,” presents a mass of glowing orange that could almost be described as narcissistic as it pulls all attention away from the subtle colors that build up a pale, layered background. Even the scramble of black and midnight blue can’t compete with the irregular shape that sits static, waiting to release its potential energy. A viewer might stand by, waiting to see what might happen next, if these colors and shapes were allowed to keep evolving.
Harran is most known for his pieces that present wide expanses of color intercepted and pierced by jagged slashes of hues pulled from the bottom of the value scale. Recently he has taken a turn. His work is moving into a new era, one that illustrates Harran’s unique perspective on our world. He is an artist who looks at the whole, then narrows his sights down to the smallest particles that make up matter and life. He is influenced by molecules, shards of light, bits of conversation and a whirl of brain power that mixes it all up into images only Harran can see until he chooses to pull them out and express his ideas with hand, brush and paint.
“We are all made up of small molecules. Picture those. They have colors. Because they are really tiny we have to put them together to make a picture, like pixels,” Harran explains. “Imagine those pixels, or molecules. They actually have their own identity. They have their own personality, colors. Because we don’t see them, they are very tiny – doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They are there. Our eyes cannot see it physically, so they are not existent to us, but they are there. I am not making a literal representation of these things. I am trying to bring awareness to the fact that they are there.”
While his older paintings are composed of large, commanding shapes, his new pieces are quite different. Harran uses thousands of small marks, each made with careful thought, to represent a whole. His ideas develop in a steady stream, and he is challenged to choose which vision will be given life on a canvas.
A flood of ideas once came to Harran after he spent time observing a willow tree.
“It’s really an amazing tree. It gets really big, yet the branches just go down,” Harran says, illustrating the posture with his body. “Funny, when I discovered we call it weeping willow. We just got that emotion from us, and we put it on the tree.”
The artist is tuned in and fascinated by the practice that people have of projecting our experiences and emotions onto things that are non-human.
He goes on to say about the tree, “If you get near one on a very sunny day, you see where the light escapes between the leaves in a very romantic way, like the light is playing with the tree. I thought, oh my God, that could be anything. That light not only carries through the tree but it is part of the tree. We gave it the name because when we slump down it is like we are sad, but what if that is not so with the tree? I find these big ideas in images or thoughts and I try to show them.”
His experience with the willow tree is illustrated by a new series he calls Falling Gold.
Harran’s newer pieces are made up of small strokes of the brush, yet he still chooses to work with large canvases. He needs room to let color travel all over the surface. He enjoys the interaction he can have with the canvas when size demands that he move his entire body to make a piece.
“Each touch of the brush has its own feeling at that moment. There are thousands of them [and] each has its own meaning ... I use big arm movements. My whole body gets involved. I used to sit at an easel, but now, sometimes I don’t use an easel. I just lean them on the wall on top of a couple pieces of wood. I have the colors all around me in bowls, on plates and in buckets. There are brushes everywhere. I move from one thing to another.”
The artist notes other changes from his old style.
“It takes a little longer than the old style. Sometimes with the older style an idea would come to my mind. I would see it and then just put it on the canvas. When I work now, the canvas is just blank white. When I put my first mark, there is the first problem. With paintings you are a problem solver all the time. When you start your first touch, you create your first problem, and you have to fix and solve the whole time. It comes from finding the right color balance, the purpose of that touch.”
Harran names many of his pieces after colors. “Season Silver” is one such piece. It is a canvas covered by a vast plane of marks, mostly white and grey; some recede while others step forward. Pulls of black paint dash down the piece with energy while peeks of yellow ocher hide in the background. It’s as if the work were a flash of motion captured on fast shutter speed.
“When I made those seasons, you may think winter, spring and fall. I also mean that we, people, go through seasons. We are young and we are full of energies and ideas, most likely they are stupid, but you don’t know that. ‘Season Silver’ is like a man or a woman in their fall time. We compare it to the tree when the tree goes through its cycle and is on the decline.
“Silver – people assume that means old. I like the idea of the season that we go through as people. It is when we change. The things we go through, what makes us change? We go through experiences and suddenly we have different opinions … that jump is a very amazing thing. That change, that moment, when we realize that change, it is like a new moment, like we are born new.”
Harran currently shows at galleries in Atlanta, Nashville and Colorado. He hopes to build a relationship with a gallery in Chicago and his solo show, Marks of Intention, will be featured at Jennifer Ford gallery on 3223 Carroll Road through November 15.
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Art on Broadway — Tours of 5 downtown venues featuring art from Alexandra Hall, Julie Wall, Peter Lupkin, Daniel Dienelt, Knotodday, Kay Gregg, Terry Ratliff and St. Monci, 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Broadway Street, Fort Wayne, free, 417-5925
Beer, Bourbon, Bacon Festival — Unlimited beer sampling from national and regional craft breweries, fine bourbon sampling and bacon inspired treats, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, March 25 (5-9 p.m. VIP), Marquis and Three Rivers Ballrooms, Hotel Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, $35-$75, 484-0411
An Evening with Author Tom Frank — Author of What’s the Matter with Kansas talks about his new book; hors d’oeuvres, lecture and book signing included in admission, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25, CS3 Hideaway, Fort Wayne, $15 plus donation, 602-1008
Puttin’ on the Ritz —Active 20-30 club fundraiser with live music from Chris Worth and Company, gourmet edibles, wine and beer, live and silent auctions; black tie optional, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, $50-$90, 450-2844
Shipshewana on the Road — Food, craft and primitives show and sale, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 25 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, $4, 483-1111
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Big Dick and the Penetrators — Classic rock at Navy Club, Ship 245, New Haven, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 493-4044
Brat Pack — Rat Pack/variety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Cougar Hunter — 80s glam rock at Vinnie's Bar, Decatur, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $5, 729-2225
Ellsworth Sharp — Neofolk at Friendly Fox, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8:30 p.m., no cover, 745-3369
FBC Band w/Sheba — Variety/Music and Memories benefit at C2G Music Hall, Fort Wayne , 8 p.m., $7-$15, 426-6434
Fireball Matinee — Rock at Hideaway Lounge, Bluffton, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 824-0455
Fleshwounds — Rock at Hamilton House, Hamilton, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 488-3344
Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra — Funk at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m., cover, 483-1311
Fu5ion — Variety at Mitchell's Sports Bar & Neighborhood Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, (260) 387-5063
The Illegals — Rock at O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 422-5896
Joe Stabelli — Jazz at Don Hall's Gas House, Fort Wayne, 5:45-9 p.m., no cover, 426-3411
John Curran & Renegade — Country at Alley Sports Bar, Pro Bowl West, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 483-4421
Johnny Freakin' Xcitor — Country rock at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 625-1002
Kat Bowser — Variety at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 489-2524
The Orange Opera w/Mickyle James — Rock at Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., $5, 267-5303
Prime Suspects — Variety at American Legion Post 499, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 483-1368
Quincy and the Q-Tet feat. Phil Potts — Rock/variety at Downtown Eatery & Spirits, Warsaw, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, (574) 267-6000
Second Nature — Pop at Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Shannon Persinger Quartet — Jazz/variety at Club Soda, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 426-3442
Todd Harrold & Nick Bobay Duo — R&B/blues/variety at American Legion Post 148, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., no cover, 423-4751
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Ambitious Blondes Karaoke — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Beat Karaoke & DJ — Variety at American Legion Post 296, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m. , no cover, 456-2988
Bucca Karaoke w/Bucca — Variety at Tower Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-6310
Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Corner Pocket Tavern, Fremont, 10 p.m., no cover, 495-9255
Classic City Karaoke w/Tobin — Karaoke at Toad's Tavern, Monroeville, 10 p.m., no cover, 623-6226
DJ Shawn — Karaoke/variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at AJ's Bar and Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., , 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Josh — Variety at Arena Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 557-1563
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-4748
House DJ — Variety at Early Bird's Ultra Lounge, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 483-1979
House DJ — Variety at Flashback on the Landing, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 422-5292
Karaoke — Variety at Crooner's Karaoke Bar, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 486-1979
Live DJ — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Shooting Star Prod. w/Barbie — Variety at Uncle Lou's Steel Mill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-5787
Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu — Variety at Pike's Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-6200
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ — Karaoke at Kville Pub, Kendallville, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 348-1677
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The Children’s Hour — Lillian Hellman’s seminal drama about bigotry perpetuated against the LGBT community and how easily a lie can spread, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25, First Presbyterian Theater, Fort Wayne, $12-$20, 426-7421 ext. 121
Getting Sara Married — Comedy about an unmarried lawyer in need of a husband (according to her aunt), 7 p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. curtain, Saturday, March 25, Arena Dinner Theatre, Fort Wayne, $40 (includes dinner & show), 424-5622
One Foot in the Gravy — Howard Kingkade’s comedy and winner of Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, $10-$20, 422-4226
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22nd Annual Valentine’s Invitational — Works from local and national artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru March 31, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — Award-winning works from northern Indiana and northwest Ohio middle and high school students, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Afros: A Celebration of African Hair by Michael July — Contemporary photography exhibit by Brooklyn author/photographer, daily thru April 14, D’Agostino Art Gallery, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, 399-8626
An Artful Spring — Works by Gwen Gutwein, Patricia Weiss, Austin Cartwright and more, Tuesday-Saturday thru March 31, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Echolilia — Works from Timothy Archibald and his autistic son, Eli, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Entropy — Daniel Swartz solo exhibition explores relationship between death and mourning through combinations of mythology, mathematics, multi-dimensional physics and pop culture, Monday-Saturday thru April 1, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Diane Allen Groenert — Exhibition of local artist’s Downtown Series and new works, Monday-Saturday thru June 24, West Central Microcreamery & Cafe, Fort Wayne, 415-9293
Expressions of Existence — An exhibition of works by artists through history, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and others whose works have been influenced by disabilities, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne Photographers Club — Exhibition featuring local photographers, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 30, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Garden Party — Garden-themed works in a variety of mediums from over 30 local artists, Monday-Saturday thru March 31, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Generations: A View of Who Was Who — Works by Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence and other African-American artists, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
A Mary Poppins Garden Party — Child-oriented garden exhibit, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 1, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Moments in Time: Reflecting on the Human Spirit — Elizabeth Opalenik photographs from her recent Amish series A Journey Home and her Reflecting on the Edge exhibition, daily thru March 26, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
RAW. Untamed. Unashamed. Visions of Freedom. — Abstract romanticist works in acrylics and epoxy from Kristy Jahn, Fridays and Saturday-Thursday by appointment thru March 25, The Gallery at Pranayoga, Fort Wayne, 423-9642
Sharon — An exhibition of Leon Borensztein photographs chronicling the struggles he faced raising his severely disabled daughter, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Wabash County Schools Exhibition — Works by high school art students, daily thru April 16, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102