BY THE WATER | Paintings of Istanbul & Venice by Ian Harper6. Sep - 25. Oct 13 / ended Eleven Spitalfields
12-6 weekdays, weekends by appointment only
By the Water takes as its inspiration the cities of Venice and Istanbul, two cities with a shared history as the leading trading centres for Europe. Harper’s paintings are in part depictions of specific locations, but mostly they are evocations of place and atmosphere, drawn from a number of visits over the last 4 – 5 years. During this time Harper has completed a number of private commissions for clients including paintings for Palazzo Grandiben in Venice’s Arsenale district.
Inspired by time spent in these cities ‘out of season’, capturing something of the different moods at these times of year, such as the elusive qualities that result from the relationship between the water and the light. Venice and Istanbul are cities dominated by the presence of water, with a pace of life defined by the rhythms and sounds of the tides within them.
Chance elements are used and emphasised; chemical reactions harnessed to create a picture which is part etching, part painting. These methods return to the skills learned at the Slade School. Venetian plasters and leaf metal are applied to the surface and then further worked with acids and other chemicals lending the paintings a physicality that reflect the dilapidation and former splendour of the cities from which inspiration is drawn.
Harper is an artist born in Dublin in 1957. He is known for his paintings and prints of dreamlike and melancholy nature. He began image making 30 yrs ago then gained his experience in painting and trompe-l’oeil while living in Spitalfields. He has since commenced working on murals and Fresco paintings techniques learned in Italy. Harper lives and works between London and ‘les Corbières’ in the south of France where he has a studio.
During his career he has exhibited in North America, France and UK including a 2009 solo exhibition of selected works at Eleven Spitalfields. More of Harper’s work can be seen at
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