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Nicholas Harper

Minneapolis, MN

Artists bio available upon request

My passion for the representative image stems from a fascination held for iconography, Byzantine and Russian as well as the myriad connotations associated with the representative image, whether they be spiritual, political or documentative. The term “icon” is aptly loaded with symbology and meaning originally reserved for saints and church prescribed entities. I intend to salvage these implied and historical meanings with a contemporary flair. Through this elevated approach to portraiture I intend to celebrate the monumentality of the individual, the unknown person and the common or ordinary, and that it is anything but. To borrow a term from literature, an integral inspiration for my work, I consider myself a magical realist. As I take up the task of painting traditional portraiture, I distort the lens through which I view the sitter. Through a distorted and abstracted painterly expression I hope to metaphorically conjure forth real human emotion and experience. In reaching for an emotive understanding of humanity, I aim to form images without the dishonesty and cynicism I see in daily life. Each painting becomes a rich tapestry saturated with potential for story telling. While I am also influenced by traditional European portraiture in my desire to record an individual human being who lives and breathes in a certain place in time, my need to confound and "improve" naturalism offsets any desire to paint realistically. In this way, distortion and the use of architectural and atmospheric elements to shroud my subject matter becomes vital to the narrative of each painting. As elements overlap, dissect and merge, subject and setting are blurred creating yet another layer of subtext. Through implied space and atmosphere, each image is as much about emotion as subject blurring the line between representation and abstraction. When looked upon from an outside perspective, the tension in all of us takes on a strange beauty. This is what I hope to present in my work. In so doing, my wish for the viewer is that they may come in contact with their spiritual self and glimpse at their personal divinity. I hope to transcend dogmatic religious belief while reaching for a universal experience and realization. Just as icons of the Byzantine and Russian heritage provided a means of meditation and contemplation, so too, I hope that my work finds a place in peoples homes, and more importantly, has a positive influence throughout their life. Rather than simply beautifying a living environment, my intention is that the work reaches for a transformation of the body, mind and soul while acting as a focal point in ones life experience.

3001 West 50th Street
(at 50th & Xerxes)
click here for directions
Minneapolis, MN 55410
mon-sat 10 to 6
thu 'til 8
sunday 12 to 5