Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage
Some years ago, I wrote “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 are sumptuous, rarefied, and exquisite.” Needless to say, I am a big fan and happy to share not only a new body of work, but a new monograph, The Home Stage, published by Damani with writing by Alison Nordstrom and Alain de Botton. She also opens an exhibition of this work at Rick Wester Fine Art in New York on November 6th, running through January 10th, 2015, with a book signing on November 8th from 1-3pm. Jessica is truly a master of light and her compositions allow her the viewpoint of a participant observer of her family, creating layered Dutch Master tableaux that elevate the ordinary into something quite extraordinary.
Jessica’s photographs have been discussed in The New Yorker, Photo District News, Camera Austria, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others. Her work recently appeared in museums across the country in “Masterpieces of American Photography”, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film’s traveling exhibit of work from their collection. She was a project competition winner at Center, Santa Fe and one of “PDN’s 30: Our Choice of Emerging Photographers to Watch”. The sold out “Interior Exposure” (Damiani 2008) was her first book of photographs about family and won recognition from sources as varied as Oprah Magazine, PDN, and the NY Photo Festival. Harper received her BA in history of art from Bryn Mawr College and her MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has taught at The ICP, Haverford College and Swarthmore College. Harper is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art in New York and Jackson Fine Art in Atlanta.
The Home Stage
My interest in art began when I was a small child. My mother used to take my sister and me to all the museums in driving distance from our home in Albany, NY, and we would spend afternoons copying paintings first with crayons and then with charcoal and finally, when we were older and more experienced, with pastels. This traditional artistic preparation took an unexpected course once I started making photographs an a teenager but the familiar canvases of my childhood heroes- John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Vermeer- still have their influences today: I am interested in making intimate, psychological portraits, where environment plays a large role. For subject matter I use what I have at hand: family, friends, and more recently- babies and small children. While the greater themes in my work have been fairly consistent over time the newer subject matter also focuses on the intense and highly charged experience of childhood and having children.
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