Andy Harper

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“At a Summer Exhibition in the Royal Academy over 15 years ago I spotted a small to mid-size painting whose somewhat surreal imagery of jungle-like dense floral interlacing strangely stood out amongst the hundreds of art works crowding the walls. It was very different from my usual taste but it was intriguing. So I kept going back to the studio fascinated by the variety of styles ranging from photorealistic to gestural and the simply mind-blowing technique and confidence in execution. That fascination prevails until today and it seems as if Andy can now switch back and forth between the styles and techniques with an even more impressive ease and versatility.”

(Patrick Heide)

Andy Harper
AC, 2019
Oil on canvas
200 x 200 cm

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Andy Harper
Pocket of Straws, 2018
Oil on linen
160 x 120 cm

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Andy Harper
Blind-stitched, 2018
Oil on linen
160 x 120 cm

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Andy Harper
Fit for Hobby, 2018
Oil on canvas
58 x 49 cm

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Andy Harper
Party Line, 2018
Oil on canvas
53 x 40 cm

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Andy Harper
False Flats, 2018
Oil on canvas
44 x 36 cm

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Andy Harper
Something is happening that is not happening at all, 2017
Oil on canvas
120 x 150 cm

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Andy Harper
Be like water, 2017
Oil on canvas
120 x 150 cm

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Andy Harper
Head of Movement, 2017
Oil on linen
81 x 62 cm

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“Each of Harper’s paintings, its tangles of vegetation morphing into clustering dendrites or even disordered thought itself, toggles between inferences of interior and exterior landscapes. Harper ... speaks for painting as a Janus-faced practice – an abundance of materiality that also operates as a sentient force field; a hypnotic and unknowable zone that strategizes to rewire thought itself.”

(Martin Herbert on Andy Harper)

Andy Harper
Ventress, 2017
Oil on linen
81 x 62 cm

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Andy Harper
Mont Royal, 2019
Oil on canvas
90.3 x 68.3 cm

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Andy Harper
Thorensen, 2017
Oil on linen
81 x 62 cm

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Andy Harper’s work is drawn from an abundance of resources. To engage with his paintings means to enter a whole new world on its own terms. References from botany, flora, Victorian and primordial motifs as well as powerful colours and abstract arrangements stimulate our senses and imagination. Many of the earlier paintings were inspired by J. G. Ballard’s 1962 science fiction novel The Drowned World, and its content and denseness still nourishes the more recent works. The story portrays a post-apocalyptic and unrecognizable London submerged by water and tropical temperatures. The few characters in the book are isolated in the city, while the rest of humanity has chosen refuge at the cooler poles. Ballard’s vision of isolation and its psychological undercurrents during a world in crisis hauntingly fits into our current times.

Harper’s paintings are full of detail, crafted by thousands of precisely executed brush strokes that are technically incredibly versatile and result in hugely complex compositions of often unexpected clarity and luminosity. The driving mechanism in his work is the play with movement, colour, depth, and particularly light and shade. From his early photo-realistic “grass paintings” to the “vegetation” paintings, up to the more recent series of more geometrical and abstract works such as the “radial symmetry” pieces or the works with monochrome colour blocks, the process of painting remains similar and impressive. Technically based on a membrane of oily paint that is wet and totally malleable, Harper’s arrangements are recently much looser in appearance, the associations much freer. And yet, a moment of obsession and perfection is still perceptible; it is this contradiction of experimenting with different techniques and visual references that imbues Harper’s work with so much vigour, beauty and tension.

Andy Harper
Gua, 2016
Oil on canvas
35 x 35 cm

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Andy Harper
Luj, 2016
Oil on canvas
35 x 35 cm

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Andy Harper
Gong Shower, 2016
Oil on linen
36 x 36 cm

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Andy Harper
Adobe, 2017
Oil on canvas
140 x 200 cm

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Andy Harper
The prison of medium scale, 2009
Oil on linen
20 x 15 cm

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Andy Harper
The Line of Ornament, 2008
Oil on linen
46 x 56 cm

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“Time Sickness is a term J.D. Ballard used in his science fiction model “The Drowned World” to describe its characters loss of a sense of time and ultimately reality.
Already the sheer size of Time Sickness (190 x 300 cm) combined with the abundance of visual information are overwhelming. Its seemingly uncontrolled undulating thick jungle of plants is spirally sucked into an abyss, where it seems to disappear - flora and fauna are taking over our world, menacing and simultaneously beautiful. An existing reality is absorbed, while a new one is in creation.”

Andy Harper
Time Sickness, 2007
Oil on linen
190 x 300 cm, two panels

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Andy Harper
Panorama, 2000
Oil on curved board
122 x 244cm

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Andy Harper
Underground River, 2005
Oil on board
54 x 155 cm

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Andy Harper
Head, 2019
Oil on canvas
150 x 120 cm

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Andy Harper
Rohrbach, 2020
Oil on canvas
120 x 95 cm

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