The Springfield Township Arts Center has two small art gallery spaces. One gallery features art by nationally recognized artist, Charley Harper. The gallery in the main lobby features local artists or art clubs. The galleries are changed out frequently. Most artwork is available for sale. Artwork sold in the main gallery will be available for pick up after the show has concluded. Charley Harper Artwork can be purchased anytime the art center is open.
The Main Gallery Exhibit Schedule:
July 6 - Sept 31, 2020 October 6 - December 31, 2020 January 6 - March 30, 2021 April 6 - June 30, 2021
Exhibit applications are reviewed by an independent panel of artists. Apply to be a featured artist or art group here.
Main Gallery Featured Artist
Exhibiting July 6 - September 31
My mixed media work is inspired by my love of color and pattern. Photos and random bits of found paper enhance my work in unexpected ways. The closer you get to one of my mixed media paintings, the more detail you see in the photos used. The use of paint ranges from loose washes and glazes to very detailed brush work. Paint is applied both over and under the paper.
The floral paintings I create remind me of women I have known. Some are weathered perennials who appear in my life year after year. Some are flashy annuals who visit to add color and a little spice. The paintings are made of many layers, like these women. Some are bold, some are more subtle; you don’t see their beauty until you get to know them. Matisse said, “There are always flowers for those who choose to see them.” That inspires me, as do the women who cross my path.
I grew up in a home filled with creativity. My mother was a painter and my father was a businessman/writer who also dabbled in advertising. As a child I rejected art classes and learned to speak Spanish and play tennis. While a freshman at Miami University, I discovered the Art Department was where I belonged. I received my degree in Art and Education with a heavy concentration in Art History. My career as an art teacher took me to several schools, finally finding my school home at Mariemont High School. I spent 25 years teaching art at Mariemont. During that time I earned my Master’s Degree from Xavier University. My continuing art education was filled with classes at the Art Academy, Miami summer courses and classes with a local artist. I retired from teaching in 2006 to devote my energy to being a full time artist. Most recently, I returned to Xavier to teach a drawing class for the Art Department. I now have the freedom to travel to workshops and classes with nationally acclaimed artists.
The best things I have learned in my studies, I learned in my own classroom. Thirty three years in the classroom teaching art to high school students taught me many things. Value every ” accident” with the materials you use… it may lead to something unimagined and great. Be spontaneous with your work. You can capture that energy. Another pair of eyes can help you work your way out of a corner. A schedule is not necessarily a bad thing. It can help you develop a great work ethic. Art history is a wonderful place to start.
The main thing I learned from my parents, teachers, students and friends is: Never stop learning. Education doesn’t end when you earn a degree. It is just the beginning. Your work is never really finished; it is just a step to the completion of the next piece.
The Harper Gallery
Charley Harper (August 4, 1922–June 10, 2007) had an alternative way of looking at nature. His serigraphs were large expanses of rich color, which gave the viewer a very different perspective on the animal kingdom. A conservationist as well as an artist, Harper revealed the unique aspects of his wildlife subjects through highly stylized geometric reduction. Harper said he was
the only wildlife artist who has never been compared to Audubon, yet his wildlife art was just as instructive—the only difference was that Harper laced his lessons with humor. Harper believed that humor made it easier to encourage changes in our attitudes and awareness of environmental concerns.
There was a rare and delightful playfulness in Harper’s artwork. There was also graphic genius. Harper said,
When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see feathers, fur, scapulars or tail coverts—none of that. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting: In a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.
Reared on a West Virginia farm, Harper developed an early appreciation and love of animals as well as design. He attended West Virginia Wesleyan College and graduated from the Cincinnati Art Academy, where he also taught for many years. Gradually, Harper began to lose his interest in realism.
I felt shackled by the laws of perspective and shading and decided that the constant attempt to create the illusion of three dimensions on the two-dimensional plane of the picture was limiting me as an artist. Realistic painting persuades the viewer that he is looking into space rather than at a flat surface. It denies the picture plane, which I affirm and use as an element of design. Wildlife art has been dominated by realism, but I have chosen to do it differently because I think flat, hard-edge and simple.
In his artwork, Harper imaginatively investigated the similarities between human and wild animal behaviors, but completely without anthropomorphism.
I learn as much as I can about the creatures that interest me, and they all do. I observe them and find out how they interact with each other and their environments and ask myself,