February 12th, 2014

Jana Harper You Call It A Cloud

The Vanderbilt University Department of Art proudly welcomes to Space 204 a mixed media exhibition by new faculty member Jana Harper. You Call It A Cloud will be on display from Thursday, Feb. 13, through Friday, March 14. An opening reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 20, from 4 to 6 pm., at the gallery which is located on the second floor of the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center, 25th Avenue South and Garland on the Vanderbilt University campus. An artist talk will be held at 5 pm. All Space 204 exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm.

“The main image in the show is a photograph of a lenticular cloud taken by my mother about 15 years ago when she lived in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado,” says Harper. “She was diagnosed with Bipolar I in her late 50s and one of her lifelong obsessions was with clouds. Over a period of three years when she lived in Colorado, she took thousands of photographs of clouds, convinced that each one bore a specific message and purpose. When she left Colorado, she left all of the negatives behind and I had assumed, for the last 10 years, that they were lost forever.”

Harper returned to Colorado recently, both to look for the negatives and to interview local residents about the sky. “The conversations were amazing. I spoke with pilots, meteorologists, a rancher, an environmentalist, a philosopher, and a Southwest historian. Each one had a different read on (my mother’s) cloud photograph, and the exhibition documents excerpts of those conversations.”

Though her first exhibition in Nashville, Harper’s work has been shown nationally and internationally, including a solo exhibition in Italy and group exhibitions in Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, and England. Her work is also held in numerous public and private collections, including the Library of Congress, the Sackner Archive for Visual and Concrete Poetry, Proyecto Ace Print Collection, Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Janet Turner Print Collection at California State University, the J.S. Blanton Museum at the University of Texas in Austin, the Turku Art Museum in Finland, the King St. Steven Museum in Hungary, and Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.

A new senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt Department of Art, Harper is also curator of the Urban Books Collection, Olin Library Special Collections, Washington University, a collection of over 250 artists’ books from a wide range of disciplines united by a singular focus on the city as subject. She has participated in several national and international residencies as well, including Cité International des Arts in Paris, Pyramid Atlantic, and the Peaked Hill Trust. She received her MFA in Printmaking and Book Arts from Arizona State University and was in the Core Student Fellowship Program at the Penland School of Crafts. For more information, contact The Department of Art at 615-343-7241

Feburary 13 – March 14, 2014

Opening Reception Feburary 20, 4-6pm

Public Programs in the Gallery:

Gallery Talk: Thursday, Feburary 20, 5pm

Poetry: Saturday, Feburary 22, 5 pm featuring Rick Hilles and Stephani Schlaifer

Panel discussion: Wednesday, March 12,  6 pm “Different Views: What Philosophers, Scientists, Anthropologist, and Artist See in the Clouds” featuring David Wood, Ken MacLeish, Jana Harper and moderated by Lutz Koepnick

This was originally posted by Vanderbilt Department of Art News and Events February 2014.


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