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JW Harrington is a painter, social-science professor, and trained baritone, living, working and painting in Tacoma, Washington.

My paintings on wood panels take advantage of the rigidity and smoothness of the surface: by loading the painting with impasto or layers of clear medium; by painting as thinly as possible to eliminate the third dimension on the surface; or by combining both great texture and flat surface in the same composition.

The Color Abstraction paintings express drama through the juxtaposition of bold swaths of saturated, complementary colors, and through the varying saturation of the colors. The juxtaposition creates vibrancy, while the value variation creates a sense of depth. Rationality and order prevail.

The Appreciation paintings express movement through wavy, superimposed streaks of translucent color. The palette for most of these paintings is muted: pastel tints and limited color ranges imply serenity. A few have a bolder palette to imply more forceful movement. Each painting manifests freedom and serendipity.

The Stratification paintings impose a strict rectilinear frame on the freeform superimposition of translucent color – thereby combining (mocking?) both rationality and serendipity. These were inspired by a cold wax and acrylic work on panel by Lesley Clarke that I saw in The Torpedo Factory studio complex in Alexandria, Virginia.

“The Impossibility of Knowing” refers to the strength of memory and imagination, compared to what is “real” or “observed.” In these paintings, a solid shape or silhouette interacts with its mirrored outline: something that seems substantive is augmented with its mirror, shadow, or luminescence. The interplay creates dynamism, as each shape is pulled in its opposite direction.

In figurative paintings, I bring playful (or at times wry) animation to landscapes, waterscapes, and inanimate objects. My goal is to develop a reproducible visual syntax to accentuate the rhythms of land and water.

The Faces of Evil portray men who personify Evil, identified textually by only an initial. How can a clearly human face manifest evil?
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JW Harrington is a painter, social-science professor, and trained baritone, living, working and painting in Tacoma, Washington. Using acrylic on canvas or hardwood panels, he paints abstract works: some using strict, “rational” patterns of complementary colors; and some using intuitive composition. He also paints portraits and animated landscapes motivated by the vibrant beauty of the Puget Sound region.

Harrington serves as Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. He was born in South Carolina, educated at Harvard University and the University of Washington, and has worked on east and west coasts of the U.S. He’s studied painting and drawing with Sandy Bricel Miller in Seattle. His work has been shown in Seattle at the Red Ochre Studio, ARTS at King Street Station, the UW Tower, Gallery 110, and the 2017 and 2020 Artist Trust fundraising auction; in Tacoma on the Tacoma Art Month studio tour, and at the Tahoma Center Gallery in Tacoma. The City of Tacoma has purchased two of his works through a juried competition.