Michael Harrison

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1961


  • 2005
  • Acrylic on paper
  • Purchased, 2005
  • 295 x 210mm
  • 2005/057

The pointed snouts of three dogs face off against two felines in 'Adversaries', the single yellow eye of each beaming across the paper. Artist Michael Harrison often paints these flattened forms of domestic creatures like cats in his watercolours. In this painting, although cats and dogs are usually arch enemies, there is a dreamlike quality to the composition, as though its subjects are rehearsing a familiar battle.

The simplicity of 'Adversaries' is deceptive; its lightness elicits joy, but in playing to our relationships with pets, Harrison tunes into a deeper meditation on desire and longing, and the wish to invest these feelings into something beyond ourselves.

(Jane Wallace, 2023)