Charles Harper
A Retrospective

Charles Harper RHA came of age as an artist in 1960s Ireland, a time of political turmoil in the north, reactionary politics in the south, sexual repression and a dominant conservative Catholic Church. Harper’s early works from the period addressed the issues of the day and cast his quest to explore in paint issues of the individual within his or her social context.

In the 1970s, the grid began to gain signi cant usage in art, especially in the USA with the rise of Minimalism. Harper (who had spent two years in Germany as an animator) immediately seized upon its characteristics – sequential, serial, regular – and realized its metaphoric potential to probe social and political systems.

Borrowing from private, corporate and public collections this exhibition brings together 45 works by the artist from the 1960s to the present day that explore
his relationship to paint and composition, and his ambition to imbue his powerful canvases with keen social and personal comment.

Curated by RHA Director, Patrick T. Murphy the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Dr. Yvonne Scott, Trinity College and Irish Times art critic, Aidan Dunne.

Date to be confirmed – please return for further information

We invite you to join Dr Yvonne Scott, Director, Triarc (Trinity College Irish Art Research Centre) for an informal walk through Charles Harper’s retrospective, where she will expand on her essay for the exhibition catalogue and discuss a selection of works spanning a period of 60 years.

Image: Charles Harper RHA, Conversation, 1980, Mixed media on paper, 62 x 92 cm, Collection of the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

Artist Bio

Born on Valencia Island, Co. Kerry in 1943. From 1960-67, Harper studied at NCAD, Dublin, the Limerick School of Art, and the Dublin Graphic Studio and studied lm making in Germany.
Harper works in series and his preoccupations have focused around the human gure, with a brief expansion into landscape paintings in 1995 and his work has the ability and versatility to expand in any direction, with its graphic edge and dramatic connotations. Harper primarily uses a metaphoric approach to painting using such motifs as the boat, angels, balance, landscape, and the gure. He exhibits regularly in Ireland and abroad and has represented Ireland many times in such countries as India, Switzerland, Italy, Latvia, England, France, the US and Sweden.

He has received eight national awards for his painting, including: rst prize for painting commemorating the 1916 Rising at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, The Carrols Open Award at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1971, the Arts Councils Bonn an Uachtarain de Hide at the Oireachtas Art Exhibition. His work is included in many important public and private collections including IMMA and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is a Lecturer at Limerick School of Art and Design (LIT), a founder member of Aosdána and was elected a full member of the RHA in 2002.