September 17th - December 5th, 2014
David Harper is drawn to the form and idea of memorials, markers that formalize links between memory and present experience. His main fascination is for the ways in which people bring facets of these ritual systems and objects into domestic spaces in order to amplify their personal identification with them or perhaps with the cultures that support them. To frame these elements of his work, he refers to certain periods, modes of craft and domestic embellishment that articulate peculiar links to an “ordered” natural world – the presentation of taxidermy in the home or museum setting, for example. The pleasure of asserting control over what is uncontrollably “wild,” satisfying an urge to have the animal form present in our controlled spaces, reminds us of what we no longer have and no longer are. These eccentric fusions of nature and culture are the uneasy disguises of pathos and pride that allow us to recognize and even celebrate an animal’s mortality while deferring our own. The artist earned a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has shown his work at venues such as the Dittmar Memorial Gallery (Evanston, IL), Antenna Gallery (New Orleans, LA), the Textile Museum of Canada (Toronto, ON) and MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA). Awards and grants include a Canada Council for the Arts Creation Grant, an Illinois Arts Council Creation Grant and a School of the Art Institute of Chicago Trustee Scholarship. Harper’s work has been featured in numerous catalogues published by institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada, MASS MoCA and the Stride Art Gallery Association.