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UC's Reed Gallery to Display Charley Harper Retrospective

Many never before seen works will be displayed in the "Charley Harper: A Birds Eye View" exhibit Jan. 9 thru Feb. 16 at UC's Reed Gallery.

Date: 12/26/2011 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824

UC ingot   Cincinnati-based, American Modernist artist Charley Harper was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations.
Charley Harper's
Charley Harper's "Once There Was a Field"

During his career, Harper illustrated numerous books, notably "The Golden Book of Biology," magazines such as Ford Times, as well as many prints, posters and other works. As his subjects are mainly natural, with birds prominently featured, Harper often created works for nature-based organizations, among them the National Park Service; Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden; Cincinnati Nature Center; Hamilton County Park District; and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. He also designed interpretive displays for Everglades National Park.

The University of Cincinnati's Dorothy W. and C. Lawson Reed Jr. Gallery will host a retrospective of Harper's works, many of them never before seen, in collaboration with Charley Harper Art Studio Jan. 9-Feb. 16, 2012.

The exhibit, "Charley Harper: A Birds Eye View," begins with his childhood and traces his career, providing a unique insight into the development of this icon maker and how his surroundings, travels and family influenced his work.

Harper’s love of nature began in childhood on his family's West Virginia farm. His desire to pursue art brought him to Cincinnati and later New York for study.

His minimalist style was enhanced during his role as a scout, serving in Europe during World War II. It was a role that taught him how to quickly capture the essence of the moment. 

In his later art career, Harper was influenced by Cubism, Minimalism and even physics and countless other developments in Modern art and science. His style distilled and simplified complex organisms and natural subjects, yet he often created arrangements in a complex fashion. The results are bold, colorful, and often whimsical.

The opening reception for "Charley Harper: A Birds Eye View" is set for 5-7 p.m., Jan. 12, 2012.

UC's Dorothy W. and C. Lawson Reed Jr. Gallery is free and open to the public Sunday thru Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Go online for directions or more information, or call the gallery is 513-556-2839.