Austin Harris: The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree is a solo exhibition by the American artist Austin Harris, which dive an in-depth look at his relationship to childhood and exploration of modern-day tropes of toxic masculinity.

The artist's practice is an exploration and critique of the environment in which he grew up. He grew up in a rural community surrounded by peers and family with hyper-masculine behavior, drugs, alcohol, violence, and misogyny. Over time, he came to understand that these values and behaviors were not real to him and thus became a product of this environment. While his peers seemed to be following in their parents' footsteps, the artist began to defy what was considered a norm.

Throughout the exhibition, the artist critiques themes of toxic masculinity, behavior, and heroism. Expresses his empathy and continues to hope for change through satirical humorous scenes and poignant characters. The Joker theme seen throughout the series embodies what the artist considers his father, friends, and himself to be hyper-masculine performances. The son relationship is transcended by this performative masculinity. While the son still wears the clown costume, showing that he was born to follow in his father's footsteps, the artist shows that there is still hope for the boy. While the father is still metaphorically shackled to his outdated belief that literally, the son is not shackled. This conveys hope to the audience; that boy, father, and ourselves, we are not destined to be products of our circumstances, and that we have autonomy over who we become.

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