Spotlight

Interview Artist Rebecca Harper

Championed by Mali Morris
The Wick - Shimmering mended wings, 37x44cm, acrylic on canvas, 2022
Above  Shimmering mended wings, 37x44cm, acrylic on canvas, 2022
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The Wick - Rebecca Harper
Above  Rebecca Harper
Interview
Rebecca Harper
31 August 2022
Interview
Rebecca Harper
31 August 2022
Painter Mali Morris is one of the founder artist-members of APT (Art in Perpetuity Trust). Founded in 1995 by a group of artists in an old warehouse on Deptford Creek, it’s on a mission to build a creative community that supports artistic vision through studio spaces, a contemporary art gallery, working sculpture yard and an external public performance space.

Mali Morris first met artist Rebecca Harper when she joined the studios of APT a few years ago. Morris says: “I already knew and admired her paintings, and seeing more of her work confirmed my first impression of this very talented and committed young artist. I invited her to join me as a mentor on the new scheme we had set up at the studios, to support emerging artists. She proved to be as generous and energetic in this role as she is in everything else. I also proposed her for a portrait commission I was asked to advise on, and recently saw the beautiful and inventive preparatory studies she has been working on. Her paintings owe their strength and voluptuous beauty to a fine colour sense and masterful drawing, as well as to the very original exploration of her subject matter; I look forward to seeing how they will continue to flourish. I’m delighted to champion her.”
A Royal Drawing School graduate, Rebecca Harper creates large-scale paintings that blend dream-like motifs with ordinary scenes from everyday life. She sees her paintings as a stage, which looks compassionately at settlement, and deals with the many paradoxes within identity and belonging.

Harper says: “What always seems to underpin the work I make is a sort of ‘diasporic consciousness’, which can often involve a multiplicity of belonging and sense of difference, one of ‘otherness’ and displacement. The identity of the displaced positioning is a paradox between location and dislocation, out of place everywhere and not completely anywhere. This viewpoint frames expressions of ‘being’ within the work, spiritually, metaphorically, literally, it all manifests itself in my paintings as an unfolding, wondering, allegoric commentary on the locations I inhabit, both internally and that which surround me.”

She adds: “Characters often fill in for people I know well, they inhabit and travel like chameleons, morphing through varied landscapes, taking on different guises to explore the complexities around the notion of perspectives and relationships that exist between belonging and displacement.”

Since graduating, Harper has had three UK solo presentations with Anima Mundi Gallery, and solo presentations at Huxley-Parlour Gallery, Mayfair. Her work can next be seen at Islington Arts Factory from 10-16 September in ‘Women Celebrating Surrealism’, curated by Jenny Blake, followed by a solo show at Spurs Gallery, Beijing.

Harper is also currently working on a commission for Merton College at Oxford University, featuring three women. She adds: “I am very happy to be helping out and putting women on their walls. It’s been wonderful to work on as a commission, it is rare for me and has taken me out of my own studio practice, which has been refreshing.”

About the champion

The Wick - Mali Morris

Painter Mali Morris is a popular and active member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and has been showing nationally and internationally since her first major exhibitions at the Serpentine Summer Show 3, London, and Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery back in the seventies. Since then, she has held over 35 solo shows, and been included in group shows at the Barbican, Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Gallery and Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool among many others.

“Seeing more of her work confirmed my first impression of this very talented and committed young artist.”

Place of Birth

Hammersmith, London

Education

The University of the West of England, Bristol, a postgraduate course at The Royal Drawing School (2012-13), and Turps Art School (2016-18)

Awards, Accolades

Selected for The John Moores Painting Prize at The Walker Gallery, Artsy’s Women Artists to Watch and Focus on the Female Young Masters Award (all 2021), the artist in residence at Santozeum museum in Santorini, ACS Studio Prize winner and Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition at the South London Gallery in 2018

Spiritual guides, Mentors

I have been so fortunate and lucky, there have been many guides and mentors who have believed in me throughout my journey so far in different capacities for which I am ever grateful. I’m so grateful to have Mali Morris’s kind support in various ways at our studios at APT, Joseph Clarke’s faith in me at Anima Mundi Gallery, and Eileen Cooper’s generosity.
Many many tutors of mine have inspired me greatly along the way, and all the artists from the past who sit in my studio with me

Current exhibitions

Current: ‘Women Celebrating Surrealism’, curated by Jenny Blake, at Islington Arts Factory
Upcoming: ‘Water is Not For Sale’, curated by Cassandra Bowes, at Bloom Galerie in St Tropez, and a solo show at Spurs Gallery, Beijing


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