Profile: Kira Lynn Harris (1963)

Kira Lynn Harris is an African-American mixed-media artist who currently lives and teaches in New York City.


Kira Lynn Harris was born in 1963 in Los Angeles, California. Harris received her BA in Studio Art from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and then earned her MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts in 1998.


Critics have described her work as “minimal,” making use of installation, drawing, photography, and video to express “formal concerns of space, light and the phenomenological with issues of individual subjectivity.” She has also made use of reflective surfaces like mirror or silver leaf to highlight the architecture of space. Of her work, Harris explains, “My projects often provide a disorienting encounter for the viewer: in my installations, I am concerned with destabilization and re-orientation. To achieve this I often create architectural and environmental interventions – by using light and reflective surfaces; by inverting subject and object or figure and ground; and/or by reversing up and down, exterior and interior.”

Harris has stated that her work is influenced by artists like James Turrell, Mark Rothko, and the Hudson River School painters. She also explained, “A lot of my interest in light came from being from Los Angeles, where the light is just everywhere. You have these huge expanses of sky”. She has also cited science fiction, as well as films and cityscapes like Metropolis and Mad Max as influences.

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