The Nature of Charley Harper

Sep 18, 2010-Mar 1, 2011 Charley Harper (1922-2007)

Born on a farm in Frenchtown, West Virginia, Charley Harper went on the study at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and later made Ohio his permanent home. Best known for his nature prints, Mr. Harper was a prolific artist, working as a painter as well as a printmaker.

Using the fewest visual elements possible in his images, Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects in a style he called "minimal realism." When asked to describe his unique visual style, Charley responded:

"When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don't see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting: in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe."

During his lengthy career, Charley Harper illustrated many books and magazines; most notable were the Golden Book of Biology and The Ford Times.