Origins and History: Art by David R. Harper

A diptych featuring a figure in a painting overlaid with patterned embroideryThe Fall, embroidery

David R. Harper’s artworks explore the origins and history of various materials, and connecting classical art with modern methods.


Harper works primarily in sculpture and embroidery. I find his embroidered works particularly interesting. In them, the artist references classical paintings, emulating certain painting styles, but omitting parts of the works and replacing these parts with monochromatic or patterned stitching. What looks like a section cut out of the painting therefore also functions as an addition. His embroidery usually eclipses one or more of the figures in a work, creating the strange illusion that another figure is interacting with a ghost or imaginary being.

A sculpture consisting of two taxidermy swans atop glass vitrinesThe Young Lovers

In his sculptural works, Harper explores elements of taxidermy, using ceramic and fur animal heads, urns, stone and wood, with a conceptual eye toward the practice of memento mori. This process of remembering through the use of physical materials again references the appropriation of classical artworks.


A sculptural installation of a number of blue masks of different types of animalsA Fear of Unknown Origin

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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