These new works build and expand on themes that Harper has explored throughout her career, particularly ideas of displacement and nostalgia. Harper is interested in how we interact with the world around us, specifically connected to the ideas of transience and alienation. Says the artist: ‘the works contain deep echoes of a personal displacement and narrative. A storm brews, siblings drape on family trees, the figures journey from place to place much like some of my ancestors in exile.’
The subjects of her recent paintings are situated in what Harper describes as ‘middling space’: camping, tree climbing or mid-road trip. Although visually referencing the aesthetic of the classic British holiday snapshot, the initial wistfulness found in these scenes is disrupted by the precarious or temporary nature of the situations and settings. Says the artist: ‘In my work semi-fictional characters travel like chameleons, morphing through varied cultures and classes- taking on different guises in different places. I hope to highlight ideas around the notion of the relationships that exist between identity and displacement (the action of moving something from its place or position).’
Harper’s large-scale and lyrical paintings are rooted in an intense and rigorous practice of drawing from life. Harper interweaves these drawings with reconstructed scenes from memories, along with other mediated and second-hand imagery. Balancing both the particular and the universal, she seamlessly combines these many sources to produce plausible and richly detailed scenes that often feel dreamlike in their vivid and expressionistic colour palettes.
Giles Huxley-Parlour, gallery director, says: ‘Rebecca Harper’s paintings are a reflection of the time we are living in; sitting between dreamscapes and reality they engage with the feeling of alienation felt by many in contemporary society. We are delighted to be presenting this new series which marks the artists debut London exhibition.’