Featured Artists

August: Deb Strong Napple and Erica Harney

 

DebStrongNappleHeadshot Deb Strong Napple

Give a brief description of your upcoming show. And what might have inspired it.

The art in the “Long Views: Etchings, Woodcuts and Paintings” was all inspired by the landscapes that I have studied on my travels. I love exploring the world, and my paintbox is always part of my luggage. The work that you are looking at began with plein air studies made in Cyprus, an island in the Middle East (Petra tu Romeo and Sunset on Rocks), Alaska (Braided Rivers), New Mexico (Sunset near Santa Fe), Colorado (Ridgway, CO), Virginia (Cabins in Sun), and Lancaster County PA (Landscape and From Kirk’s Farm). One was even based on a street in my neighborhood (Beaver Road), proving that I don’t always have to go far to find beauty.

How have you expanded existing themes/ideas for which you are best known/or if this body of work is a great deviation from your norm, what inspired this new approach?

Synesthesia has driven these works. When I work from the landscape I actually hear the colors. Different hues and values translate into musical notes when I study the natural world, and my plein air paintings are information-gathering sessions where I record what I see and hear. Then, in my studio, I am able to loosen my hold on the image and use the shapes and colors to tell the viewer how it felt to be in that place at that time.

Stylistically and/or technically, what do you hope collectors notice in your new work?

Beauty! The natural world is beautiful!

Add any additional info that might interest the viewer.

My art will take you places. You might feel a warm breeze or a damp fog. You might smell the soil or grass. But I really hope that you will hear the colors in the light.  Yes, I said “hear the colors.”  Because I hear color when I paint in the landscape. I hear clean, sharp notes in bright sunlight, and low, humming tones in shadows. The colors in the landscape merge with musical sounds as I explore the scene with my paints.  My paintings and prints are my way to share this experience, and to bring this beautiful, colorful song to you.

Biography

Deb Strong Napple was born and raised in central New Jersey, and now splits her time between Reston, VA and Glenside, PA. She graduated from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, and from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Deb is happiest when she is exploring the world with her paint box.

 

 

 

Head Shot 2014 Erica Harney  Erica Harney

Give a brief description of your upcoming show. And what might have inspired it.

This exhibition consists of recent independent paintings, all of which stem from the idea of a “fabricated” or “constructed” reality, often in the attempt to create the illusion of cohesion and unity. This could pertain to the compilation of fragments to create a whole, to the way reality is presented in theatre and storytelling, or how we, as individuals, attempt to affect how we are perceived by others by shaping our identities through our personal choices, social media presence, etc. Even the very nature of art-making- and painting in particular- is deceptive and illusory. The exhibition title, “A Matter of Perception,” suggests that these realities are subjective and mutable based on the perspective of the viewer.

How have you expanded existing themes/ideas for which you are best known/or if this body of work is a great deviation from your norm, what inspired this new approach?

My work has revolved around these ideas for the majority of the past decade. Over the years, the recurring themes have manifested through myriad of avenues. Just to name a few: investigations of fragments, such as mosaics and kaleidoscopes; earth science and geology; psychology and behavioral studies; museum and curatorial studies; the representation of narrative via storytelling and theatre; and of course, elements of my own personal sense of reality are woven throughout my body of work.

Stylistically and/or technically, what do you hope collectors notice in your new work?

While my body of work is sometimes self-referential, and certain pieces create a dialogue among themselves in my use of recurring imagery and symbols, techniques, color schemes, etc., every piece is ultimately very different as they each pose a unique set of questions and tangents for exploration. I employ an endless variety of approaches to composition, mark-making, use of materials and subject matter to best correspond with the idea at hand. I believe that process is an integral part of the concept: how we make work should reflect “why” and “what” we are making work about.

Add any additional info that might interest the viewer.

You may already be familiar with my work! Since January 2013 I have painted (or assisted in painting) most of the sets produced by the Fulton Theatre, right here in downtown Lancaster. In August I will begin painting the set of the season opener, Lend Me A Tenor, designed by William J. Mohney. I have also worked on sets for Opera Philadelphia, Opera Delaware, and other regional theatre companies.

 

Artist Statement

“Shaping one’s own reality, is in fact, a creative act. And living in a world one has created can be as enjoyable as writing a symphony. Imagine, revise, revive, validate, remember, forget, seek refuge, seek certainty. It is the ongoing search for truth amid illusion. It is creating an elephant from a lump of stone – both difficult, and endlessly meaningful.” –Amy Weishaar

For the past decade, Erica Harney’s work has loosely revolved around the idea of fabricated realities and the creation of a unified whole. Her investigations into this topic are vast and varied, resulting in a body of work that draws on literal, abstract, and conceptual manifestations, woven together with fragments of her personal narrative and the ways in which she crafts her own version of reality. In addition to referencing an array of source material from mosaics to neuroses to plate tectonics to social media, Harney’s studio work is heavily influenced by her work as a scenic painter for opera and theatre, and all of the specific decisions and nuances employed to create a unique and convincing alternative reality, especially through the literal and metaphorically deceptive nature of paint.

Harney approaches her work as a sort of visual diary of existential research. Each painting is like a scene or episode that unfolds as she work on it. Immediacy plays a large part in the process: What begins from a photo, a phrase, or an experience continuously evolves as layers of information are added and removed, directly influenced by what the artist is exposed to or thinking about during the work’s development. Equally significant are nuances of construction and editing, artificial adhesion and repair, or ‘jury-rigging’ a convincing cohesiveness, reminiscent of how we build and shape our individual realities. It reflects the ways in which we perceive, preserve, and present our preferred version of reality to ourselves and others: like the proverbial tree falling in the woods, it is in our nature to believe that our existence as we know it is only realized if it is understood and accepted by those other than ourselves.

Biography

Erica Harney (born: Westchester County, NY; raised: Saratoga Springs, NY) holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Alfred University, Magna Cum Laude and an MFA in Drawing and Painting from Pennsylvania State University. She has also studied at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. She is currently based out of Philadelphia and has worked as a scenic painter for the Fulton Theatre here in Lancaster since early 2013.