Exhibitions

Charley Harper

June 25 - September 11, 2011

Charley Harper, Cool Carnivore, 1979, Charley Harper Art Studio
Charley Harper, Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher, 1956, Charley Harper Art StudioCharley Harper (Fotocollage), Foto: Todd Oldham, 2007, aus: Charley Harper "An Illustrated Life"Charley Harper, Dolfun, 1977, Charley Harper Art StudioCharley Harper, The Name is Puffin, 1971, Charley Harper Art StudioCharley Harper, Flamingo a Go Go, 1988, Charley Harper Art StudioCharley Harper, Best Dressed, 1973, Charley Harper Art StudioCharley Harper, Roseate Spoonbill, 1958, Charley Harper Art StudioCharley Harper, Installationsansicht / installation view Kunstverein Hamburg, 2011, Foto / photo: Fred Dott / Kunstverein HamburgCharley Harper, Installationsansicht / installation view Kunstverein Hamburg, 2011, Foto / photo: Fred Dott / Kunstverein HamburgCharley Harper, Installationsansicht / installation view Kunstverein Hamburg, 2011, Foto / photo: Fred Dott / Kunstverein HamburgCharley Harper, Installationsansicht / installation view Kunstverein Hamburg, 2011, Foto / photo: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg

Birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, fish, the artwork of wildlife artist Charley Harper (1922 –2007) is a visual ecosystem in which elements of colour, shapes, lines and subjects are interrelated, interdependent and perfectly balanced. Harper had an unique ability to capture the essence of any living organism. His works still challenges our previous perceptions of nature, and offers a new and unexpected way to enjoy it, both visually and verbally.

In a style he called "minimal realism", Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects with the few-est possible visual elements. As an artist, he was less interested in creating the illusion of dimension than he was in capturing the infinite patterns and designs of nature. Unlike traditional super realistic wildlife art, his is flat, simple, playful and funny. When asked once to describe his unique visual style, he responded: "When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, colour combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behaviour and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures."

His style distilled and simplified complex organisms and natural subjects without losing identity, yet they are often arranged in a complex fashion. Using his mechanical drawing tools: ruling, pen and compass, T—square, triangles and French curves, Harper drew orthographically, using direct front, rear, side, top and bottom views to reveal the uniqueness of the creature he depicted. 

Showing his work for the first time in Germany the exhibition in the Kunstverein Hamburg assembles more than 60 silk screens of Charley Harper’s colourful wildlife.