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ART EXHIBITION – SEPTEMBER – Carving Out Ideas – Jennifer Harper
September 1, 2018 - September 30, 2018
I am a native of Florida; I grew up in Mount Dora and now live in Eustis, the next town over. I grew up learning to love tools in my father’s workshop. While most girls were looking at teen magazines, I was pouring over tool catalogs, imagining all the things I would design and build.
My bachelor of fine arts is in drawing, with secondary interests in both sculpture and ceramics. I took one semester of intaglio printmaking in college, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I took up printmaking as a full-time passion. From 2005 to 2008, I taught art in a small international school in China. It was a lesson I taught to the students on linoleum carving that really stuck with me when I returned to life in the United States. My father carved in the round until the end of his life. It felt natural for me to carve in relief and combine that skill with my drawing and all the other skills I learned by lots of seemingly unrelated jobs touching on art, but not actually being art.
This time in life, I make what intrigues me enough to see it through to the press. Prints take on a life of their own and many changes occur throughout the process of carving and printing. The constant surprise is what keeps me going, along with the people that share my presses. Harper Printmaking studio is open to the community and we have Open Press Group meetings a few times each week. Seeing everyone open to the same element of surprise makes it very worthwhile for all of us.
My family has been a tremendous source of support and has given me plenty of reference material. My marriage is 42 years young and my two wonderful girls are nearly grown and off to college. Running the studio for my own art and for the use of other artists makes for a terrific balance.
The purpose of my work is not so fixed or clearly defined. My thinking remains in a constant state of flux and the ideas for a print must accommodate the thought of the day. I am passionate about the environment, my family and finding the truth of any given situation.
Often the print is sparked by words or can just as easily begin with a simple shape that speaks to me. I find that the longer I explore relief printmaking, the harder it is to tell who is in charge – the hand or the mind, or simply the print itself. Many times, I start out with a story reference from my experience, or some kind of thesis statement; but in the end, the print has something new to say. Not knowing exactly how it will come out is the adventure.
My work has a dual purpose: Harper Printmaking studio exists not only for me, but for the printmaking community in our area. The Open Press Group has been going strong for five years. Other artists share the space and the presses, which in turn inspires me as we all learn from each other.
1st Saturday along Canal Street: Art Stroll (10am – 4pm), Craft Beer Walk (1-7pm) and Gallery Walk (4-7pm).
At The Hub on Canal:
10am-2pm: Art Connections, (10am-2pm). The Hub on Canal offers an inside look at the work of more than 70 local artists. Learn about the process of creating art while exploring two floors in one historic building located in the heart of the New Smyrna Beach Arts District.
1-2pm: Talk Art! featuring Karla Kennedy, photographer, “Expect the Unexpected.” Get to know this Hub Artist through an informal session. Learn how the artist works, media and techniques. Bring your enthusiasm for the arts and lots of questions! Admission is free. For more information visit www.thehuboncanal.org.
4-7pm: Live Music with Jeff Pattishall, Opening Reception for the September gallery exhibition during Gallery Walk from 4-7pm. The exhibition features Jennifer Harper: “Carving Out Ideas,” block printing. Artist talk at 6pm.
Free and open to the public.