Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:49 a.m.
Local visual artist Amina Harper opens her new solo show, "Chimera," at the Smitten Kitten this Sunday. The exhibition highlights a body of work exploring the concept of the hybrid. Drawing inspiration of Greek mythology, classical European painting, and Eastern influences, Harper's pieces have a provocative, often erotic style full of bright colors and fantastical storytelling.
While she has shown her work at salons and coffee shops before, the Smitten Kitten event will be Harper's first exhibition in a setting that includes a reception and artist talk. "It feels more official," she says.
Mostly, Harper will be showing gauche paintings, plus a few pieces in her earlier style to showcase changes from the start of her career until now. Her old style was very illustrative, she says, utilizing cartoon-like sharp lines and bright colors.
"The actual technique hasn't changed," she says, "but the medium has changed." Before, she used mostly ink pen and colored pencils, often with no background. Nowadays, Harper is mostly doing paintings, and the work she's showing is a lot larger than they have been in the past, with more depth and composition in the backgrounds.
Harper's pieces tend to be very striking, and incorporate erotic imagery and sinister forces. However, her paintings never seem exploitive or crude. There's an impishness in her work, a curiosity singed with a streak of fire.
You can expect to see a lot of nudity and gender-based themes in this show, Harper says, which makes the work a perfect compliment to Smitten Kitten, where she doesn't have to worry about offending anyone. She's been included in group exhibitions at the store in the past, and she enjoys working with them. "They don't censor me at all," she says. "Their main criteria is that the work is sex positive. It's nice to be able to show somewhere where patrons know what to expect."
Amina Harper: "Chimera"
Opening reception 7-10 p.m. Sunday, July 7
Through August 8