Jessica Todd Harper
This week I am featuring a selection of Critical Mass portfolios that were stand-outs in my very subjective opinion. There are numerous others that have already been featured on Lenscratch.
Jessica Todd Harper has a painter’s eye, an artist’s soul, and a photographer’s intuition, and when these three qualities combine, you get images that that are sumptuous, rarified, and exquisite. Jessica published her first monograph, Interior Exposure, in 2008. Ruel Golden from PDN states, “Imagine images combining the social class of Tina Barney, the intimacy of Elinor Carucci and the sensibility of the Dutch painter Vermeer. A beguiling mix for sure, and so it’s no wonder that the young photographer Jessica Todd Harper is making such a splash in the fine-art world.” I have to agree.
I grew up copying paintings. My mother gave my sister and I first crayons, then charcoal, and finally pastels and watercolors as she plunked us down on the floors of local museums and directed us to pass the time drawing what we saw. Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent and Renoir were my heroes as a child. When I went to college I became an art history major and fell in love with Vermeer, Memling, Pieter de Hooch and other Northern European artists who at first glance seemed to make paintings about nothing everyday-ness, but whose charged, quiet domestic scenes haunted me afterwards. I was impressed with the many seventeenth century Dutch painters who could at once make an image about an overflowing bowl of just-about-to-turn fruit and a metaphor for the beauty and tragedy of the human mortal experience. One could make the same observation about the family in Emmet Gowin’s photographs or the empty spaces in Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, both artists whom I also admire. My photographs of my family and friends in domestic settings reflect all these influences. They are about identity, familial relationships and the unspoken things that make up the inner stories of our lives. This particular group is the newest, and focuses on small children- particularly my twin babies.
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