Nancy Toomey Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Andy Harper entitled What remains to be said, on view from December 18, 2019, to January 25, 2020. The gallery is located inside San Francisco’s Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street. The public is invited to the exhibition reception on Saturday, January 11, from 5pm to 7pm.
British artist Andy Harper, best known for his lush paintings full of depth and detail, has more to say in his What remains to be said exhibition. Every feature of Harper’s distinctive body of work is apparent here: the complex interplay of color and gesture are executed with exuberance and bravura. Layers of rapidly applied linseed oil washes are quickly manipulated into compositions that appear both familiar and strange in equal measure.
Harper’s marks and smears alternate with botanical, architectural, and modernist references that disorder the pictorial surface, giving the viewer no clear sense of perspective or spatial depth. Though different in composition and color, many of these paintings suggest an inner dialogue with a reflective overlap. There is a kind of conversation taking place that is filtered through the artist, the paint, and the picture plane, resulting in works that are imaginative and distinctly his own.
“Whether conjuring a scene from a parallel botanical world, working abstractly or opening up a dialogue with an appropriated image, my method of painting is the same,” says artist Harper. “A membrane of transparent paint is spread across the slippery surface of the support. Brushes and various implements are brought in contact with this sensitive and ever moveable layer of oily paint. Pigments and mediums are carefully mixed for their specific drying properties. Working in this ‘only when wet’ technique provides a window of opportunity to act upon the surface.”
Transcribing images, inventing marks and devising the composition, acting and re-acting, Harper accumulates hundreds of decisions. The brush or tool moves too quickly across the surface to be contrived or engineered, instead intuitive impulses and hunches drive the work. Every twist, jerk, stroke, division and line drawn into the wet paint extends his understanding of procedural memory, visual thinking, pattern recognition, sensory processing, neuroaesthetics, and haptic perception. Before long the resinous film begins to stiffen and gel.
Harper says, “Once dry, I am locked out and held within the solidified surface the evidence remains, like an archaeological record of the work enacted during this bracketed period of time. The painting becomes a record, not of the visual world, but of thought.”
Born in the United Kingdom in 1971, Andy Harper grew up in Torquay and studied Fine Art Painting at a Polytechnic in Brighton. He then lived in London for around 15 years, took a few Master level courses at the Royal College of Art and Middlesex University before moving to the most South Westerly town in mainland Britain, St Just. Harper co-founded Not Cut studios in London (1996-2010) and was a member of the Organising Committee for Braziers International Artist Workshop (2004-2008). Harper is a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths University teaching on the MFA Fine Art programme. He works at the iconic Porthmeor studios in St Ives and lives in St Just on the West Coast of Cornwall, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Harper has exhibited internationally, including solo shows in Seoul, Berlin, San Diego, London, and New York. Recent exhibitions include Plastic Fox and Soft Errors at Patrick Heide Gallery in London, and Sol and Referenced at Danese Corey Gallery in New York.
"What remains to be said" is Andy Harper’s first show at Nancy Toomey Fine Art in San Francisco.