Michael Harrington is a Canadian painter living in Ottawa, ON. He creates narrative-based paintings, creating scenes that are dark, cinematic and open to interpretation. His painting style, while representational, is not easy to pin down, as it is a sort of crossover of realism and folk art. Both Edward Hopper and David Lynch come to mind in images that often depict scenes that can be both observational and surreal, with one or more figures in moments of contemplation, negotiation or camaraderie. As viewers, our encounters with these ‘meetings’ invite the question of motive. The unusual costuming, décor and gestures play with notions of performance and the ephemeral. Odd interior spaces and landscapes serve as backgrounds that depict common space that is not quite public or private. A staged setting where we are the audience.
Psychologically, Michael Harrington’s works hint at the social aspects of being a flawed human, and seek empathy from the viewer through tragedy, comedy and pathos. Their intimate, awkward and open-ended narratives prove effective in mirroring, through the personal, how complicated humankind, and the human psyche can be.
Michael Harrington graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto in 1989. He has exhibited extensively in Canada and the United States. His work has been reviewed in Border Crossings magazine, the Globe and Mail, the Boston Globe and has been reproduced in Harper’s magazine. Harrington’s work can be found in the collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, the Canada Council Art Bank, as well as numerous corporate and private collections in North America and Europe.Download the artist biography