Quick, name an Edmonton painter.
Edmontonians often talk about what a hotbed of creativity this city is, but few of us know just who the creatives are and what contribution they make to the cultural life of Edmonton.
Too many of us self-edit and assume that somehow painting, poetry, sculpture, dance and theatre are things meant for other people and not for us. That is certainly the case with paintings.
If you go to gallery openings, you are likely to see the same people each time. I can understand that.
Often, what is exhibited isn’t very accessible to the average person. They cannot understand why a big red dot or broad horizontal bands of colour are considered great works of art. It’s time to start changing that, and you can do so by going to see Gordon Harper’s painting exhibition Temporary City at the Peter Robertson Gallery.
Harper’s work is quite accessible and is very likely to resonate with you. He has chosen to paint the ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. That is what a good artist does.
His paintings of abandoned homes in the city give them a mystery and dignity that is surprising and compels you to think about the lives that have unfolded in their interiors and what the future holds for them.
The odds are pretty good that you will find a painting of a house you have passed by on the bus or in your car. If you come up 105th Street on the way to work, you will immediately recognize Harper’s painting of two houses that have been demolished to make way for a new development.
If you live in Belgravia, you will probably recognize houses that were razed to make way for the LRT extension. And if you live in the Northeast you will see some very familiar properties.
If you don’t want to take the chance that you are going to see something that will not interest you, go to probertsongallery.com and take a look at some of his work online. But don’t be fooled into thinking that you have actually seen his paintings. I think you would be surprised at just how moving the real paintings actually are.
Harper’s show runs from Sept. 22 - Oct. 11, with the opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 22 from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. The gallery is at 12304 Jasper Ave.