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The exhibition’s title “entre chien et loup” refers to daytime just before the onset of night when light is minimized so that visual distinction is not really possible. The title of the exhibition itself reveals much about the artist’s intentions that are focused on interplaying contrasts so that contrasts are developed and downplayed throughout the exhibition. Critique The most noticeable contrast in Harper’s work lies in the use of color – while Harper’s embroidery is colored richly, his sculptures are done in a few colors only. The artist’s piece titled “I tried, I tried, and I tried” is essentially a reproduction of “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques Louis David where he uses rich colors to depict a historical event. In contrast, other works from Harper espouse a seemingly small range of colors that can be segregated as white, black, shades of grey and shades of blue. The contrast between the use of colors in these pieces can be traced to the historical foundation of Harper’s work. The artist tends to use a rich variety of colors for the historical piece but uses seemingly few colors for pieces that represent contemporary issues including the artist’s personal history in pieces such as “Then We are Lost Forever in the Gloaming”. This clearly represents the artist’s unconscious perspective on modern life being dull and composed of a few colors in contrast to his conception of the past as being richly colored.
In addition, the artist tends to associate closely with historical painters such as Jacques Louis David and their works. “I tried, I tried, and I tried” seems to depict a historical event even though Napoleon’s actual march through the Alps was not as brilliant as portrayed. (Harvey, 2006). Harper has changed the color of the horse noticeably, providing it with strong shades of black and grey. This could be considered tantamount to rewriting history from the perspective of the artist using embroidery. Harper seems to be embedded into historical events to the extent that he tries to rewrite them, in an effort to become part of such glorious history. In contrast to Harper’s historical works, his works associated with the contemporary realm offer interesting perspectives on contrast, making it both sharp and gradual. Harper’s piece titled “To Remind, or to Warn” is the most glaring example on stark contrast presented by the artist. The piece is deceitfully simple and presents two wolves, one purely white and the other purely black, placed on cubical foundations. Interestingly, the foundations for the pieces are constructed of three bricks composed along the length and the breadth that provide for pure equality in both foundations. Built on top of these equal foundations are a white wolf, that is perched higher than the black wolf, on pieces of rock. While the white wolf glares down with a neutral design, the black wolf is shown howling up in the air with signs of aggression. The foundations it seems represent man’s birth – everyone is born equally, neither good nor bad. The wolves on top seem to represent good and evil. Traditional association dictates that the white wolf stands for good and so is perched higher and in a neutral posture. In contrast, the black wolf represents evil and is perched
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