There's a sense of loneliness in Gordon Harper's “Nocturnes,” an exhibition now at the Esplanade Art Gallery.
The Medicine Hat native isn't new to displaying his art in the city, he had gallery showings back in the 90s at the Cultural Centre, and hasn't stopped growing.
"When you're a painter the progress is usually slow, at least for me. I haven't plateaued yet, I don't think, and that is the thing I am really thankful for," said Harper.
After finishing studies in the Art and Design Program at the Medicine Hat College in 1989, Harper completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Calgary in 1993 then moved on to complete his Masters in Fine Arts in 1997 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
"At the time, Edmonton was a really easy place to be an artist. Real estate was really cheap, you could get a nice studio for next to nothing and there were a lot of other artists," said Harper.
Harper ended up staying in the city and since that time has worked toward being a full-time artist, something he achieved two years ago.
He started out painting at the age of 16 when his mother bought him a set of oil paints, and things took off from there. Interested in the likes of Peter Doig, an abstract landscapes painter, and influenced by the realist painter Edward Hopper, Harper describes his own paintings as "a post-modern, romantic, urban-landscape ... much like they were interested in doing in the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century, but viewed through a contemporary perspective."
"I feel like I paint whatever I want," said Harper.."Part of why I got into painting as opposed to other artistic practices is because your budget is fairly low and you have total creative control." Typically, it takes him a month to complete a painting.
About 20 paintings of Harper's work will be on display at the Esplanade and his favourite can be found on the front of the showcase's invitation letter.
The exhibit runs until June 6 and will be showcasing paintings done by the artist in the past five years.