In June 2004 Malcolm Harrison was named as the inaugural recipient of the Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Art Fellowship. The Fellowship enables the recipient to devote a substantial period to create a significant body of new work and Minus Reason is the new body of work completed by Malcolm Harrison.
In talking about Minus Reason Malcolm has said "The beginnings and origin of this work was governed by reason, not mindless passion" and that a specific starting point for Minus Reason is Francisco Goya's famous etching, The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters. This much debated work, also known as The Sleep of Reason, portrays the sleeping artist in a phantasmagoria surrounded by the looming creatures of the night. It is one work from Goya's Caprichos, a large cycle in which he comments upon human behaviour and the society in which he lived, through a series of fantastical images.
Laurence Fearnley in her catalogue essay writes "...what's doubly intriguing is that in Minus Reason, he's using his own subversive language to explore other coded languages: cave drawing, text messages, dreams, nightmares and mirror images. Yet he's using these alternative forms of communication to explore issues of truth and reason! ... A poverty of reason, a poverty of language. Only an articulate – and knowing – artist can explore such issues with confidence."
Like Goya's works, the works of Minus Reason mordantly observe the human condition and they will undoubtedly generate many readings.
Malcolm Harrison is one of New Zealand's foremost makers/artists represented in many leading public and private collections. Malcolm has exhibited annually since 1979 and has been awarded numerous residencies and commissions for public works including the Galleria Art Project at Parliament House.