Wednesday, 15 June 2011

John Harper

A quick thank you to Barry Wenden: when Barry Wenden, an external examiner from Northampton for the University of Lincoln, caught a glimpse of my work on this blog, he mentioned the photography of his colleague John Harper. He then went on to show several web pages featuring Harper’s work. John Harper produces photographic joiners, which are very interesting and suggest an array of ideas close to my interests.  

Featured here are a number of photographic joiners that are part of a series called “River”.  John Harper’s work is concerned with landscape: “Geomorphology had always interested me, not from any scientific basis but more in terms of its essential relationship to the activities of the artist. It seemed to me that there were many associations between the practices of the artist and the making of the land, and such thoughts had played their part in previous work. In the mid seventies when I was working more directly with the landscape I produced a series of works which I termed 'Catchment'. I felt that the artist’s activities related to this concept in that we gather material from a catchment area around us to condense and reform it, much in the same way as a river does. This information is then carried along through time by forces that are out of the artists hands. We work with time, no matter what our subject matter is and are always conscious of our own temporality and transience” (Harper, J., n.d.). 

Although nature is not the subject of or referred to directly in the final project, the work does concern itself with landscape and to “temporality and transience”.  This is Harper's description of his relationship to landscape:

“I began to think of the river in allegorical terms and to realise the close temporal and physical relationships that exist between the nature of the river and the nature of film. Both are translucent ribbons that carry memory along in their flow, that have complex and overlapping time structures, and each in their own way transport light and reflection with complex plays on the nature of picture plane and space” (Harper, J., n.d.). 

The above work is part of 'Broken and Breaking Ground' a Book project with John Harper featuring recent work from Fermynwoods. Working closely with John Harper, the book was produced over a 3 month period between 2007 and 2008. It's launch coincided with the associated exhibition of John Harper’s work at Fermynwoods.

John Harper is a member of the creative practice-led research network LAND2 (“land squared”) - formally LAN2D) – which was started in 2002 by Iain Biggs (UWE Bristol) and Judith Tucker (Leeds) as a national network of artist / lecturers and research students with an interest in landscape / place-oriented art practice.


Harper, J., (n.d.) "The River" Land 2, Membership, Statement and Work:

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