Gallery owner opens mixed media exhibit relating to 3-time cancer battle

For most, de-cluttering their lives involves organizing a room or ignoring social media for a week. However for one local artist, de-cluttering involved fabric, paint and an assortment of beads.

Brianne Harness, owner of be.CAUSE gallery, opened her newest exhibit, “Out of the Weeds” this past week.

The 12-piece mixed media ?series was painted by Harness and depicts her emotional struggle throughout her three-time battle with cancer.

She described the work as “vivid,” “ethereal” and “both simple and complex.” Each piece is different, she said, however there is an overall use of bold color and line. Although the idea for this exhibit first took root a year after her cancer was cured, Harness said she still felt an “emotional clutter” that hindered her.

“There were lingering feelings and thoughts that got in the way of starting new,” she said.

Which is why the artistic style of “Out of the Weeds” ventures away from Harness’ typical work. She described each work as a “mish-mash” of techniques.

The exhibit features images of a woman wearing dresses made of adhered, textured pieces of linen.

Harness hand-painted the fabric before beading and attaching it to the artwork. She said she wanted the added texture to capture the eye of the spectator and bring more focus to the sole figure in each of her paintings.

Now that the exhibit is open, Harness said she feels she is finally a blank canvas. Currently, Harness is working on a new series of works that allows her to concentrate on what her style should be. She described it as “unique, contemporary realism.”

More specifically, Harness wanted to reign her work in, focusing on using conflicting techniques. Rather than sticking with a more traditional painting style, she wanted to change things up.

“I kind of like to veer off of that and make something interesting,” Harness said, adding that if she craved a more realistic image, she preferred to photograph it.

Regardless of how contemporary or realistic her paintings are, Harness said she hopes people find a message in her work.

People often see very different things from each piece, Harness said. However, for “Out of the Weeds,” she said she hopes audiences can adopt a level of bravery from her work.

“You can always find light in the tunnel,” she said.

Even in the darkest times, Harness said she found ?happiness.

She wants the same for her audiences. Though the root of “Out of the Weeds” came from coming to terms with her experiences with cancer, she did not want people to think of her work as a closed means of self-reflection.

The 12 pieces of artwork were meant to be relatable, she said.

“Not everyone is going to want to look at cancer in artwork,” Harness said. Instead, each painting is meant to reflect the beauty anyone can find in a moment of hardship, any hardship. They could be about anything, ?she added.

“Be free and be brave,” Harness said. “Everyone has different struggles in life ... Untangle yourself from the weeds.”

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