Rogue Buddha's Nicholas Harper on his "Past/Present/Future"

Guernica by Nicholas Harper 
Guernica by Nicholas Harper 
For "Past/Present/Future," Rogue Buddha Gallery owner Nicholas Harper will be featuring his own artwork, primarily from 10 to 15 years ago, as well as some of the long-neck portraits he's been known for in recent years. Harper will also be debuting a few prototypes of his new sculptures although, as of yet, he's been mum about what they actually look like. 
By Nicholas Harper 
By Nicholas Harper 

Most of the exhibition features works of abstraction, surrealism, and cubism that Harper created nearly two decades ago. At the time, he was using vibrant colors and loose brushstrokes. The paintings are mostly figurative, but there are also purely abstract pieces as well. 

Harper says his work evolved organically from more abstract into the long-necked portraits he's known for locally. Part of that had to do with owning the gallery.

"I got to watch how people interacted with the artwork," he says. "Most people were drawn to more realistic paintings."

The human form, he noticed, is what elicited more interest from viewers. "I want my work to reach out to people," he says. 

Harper originally trained at Atillier Lack and the Bougie Studio, where he learned to meticulously work on a realistic painting for months at a time. His abstract work was an attempt get away from that style. His training was "a very rigorous and academic approach to artwork," he says. He chose to study that method because he wanted that technical skill set and proficiency. Eventually, "the creative artistic side of me needed to get away from that at some point," he says. 

Harper has been running his gallery for 13 years, starting originally at Hennepin and 24th in southeast Minneapolis. He's now based in northeast Minneapolis. Having a gallery has "pushed me for higher quality in my own work," he says. It has also led him to examine why he paints. Seeing the people interact with his artwork has helped him as an artist as well.  
By Nicholas Harper 
By Nicholas Harper 

That's not to say running a gallery is easy. Most people who own a space close within three years, he says, either from a financial standpoint or from burnout. "For me it's been hard," he says. "I have different tastes than most people."

He admits that a lot of the work he chooses to show may not have a mass audience in Minneapolis yet, though it speaks to him personally. "It's harder for people to grasp it," he says. That's in part why he wants to show some of the work that he does. "We need more galleries to break that critical mass, to show the Twin Cities what's possible." 


"Past/Preset/Future: A Nicholas Harper Solo Exhibition"
February 22 through March 23
Rogue Buddha Gallery
The opening reception on Friday night is a private/invite only event. To receive an invite, join the email list by contacting  [email protected] and including "subscribe" in the subject line.
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Rogue Buddha Art Gallery

357 13th Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413


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