By Emily Schlotter
In her ‘Bloom Bloom’ installation, Dana Lynn Harper uses chicken wire, balloons and orange flagging tape to create a chandelier of intimate tones. Her installation was showcased in the Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery from Feb. 9 to March 9.
Harper invited students to assist in setting up the installation, growing her garden of ‘Bloom Bloom’ and further communicating her message of warmth and inclusion through the piece.
“It’s such a large piece and doing it myself would take forever. Having the help from the students is really nice,” said Harper.
She has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in fine arts from Pennsylvania State University. Her work consists of performance art, sculpture, installation art and painting. Each piece communicates feelings of warmth through bold color and texture.
Harper was inspired to create ‘Bloom Bloom’ when she saw the rich texture of flagging tape material. In her piece, flagging tape and chicken wire create a glowing cave, allowing gallery-goers to walk inside and interact with the shapes. They could also walk around the outside, to see how it was made. At the same time, viewers experienced the glowing interior and the industrial feel of its structure.
In the gallery, beams of light bounce off the balloons suspended from the ceiling, creating a greater atmosphere beyond the installation.
The mix of texture and warm hues generates a positive psychological effect on the viewer, immersing them in the innocence of childhood through the womb-like piece.
Viewers can experience the installation in different settings. Harper has displayed ‘Bloom Bloom’ in outdoor locations, further communicating her style of whimsy and warmth.
Harper’s installations are mainly focused on surreal landscapes. ‘Bloom Bloom’ typifies her sculptural work through its interactive and dreamlike qualities.
In her sculptural works Harper uses polymer clay, found objects, plaster, paint and tinsel. Harper’s manipulation of found objects create surrealist qualities in her sculptures. Just as artist Salvador Dalí morphed objects together to create intimate experiences, so does Harper.
Her work ‘Dream Catcher’ is a sculpture created with eggs, wood, resin and string. The piece is monochromatic, but what it lacks in color it gains in texture. Harper perfects and exaggerates the smoothness of the eggs. The work feels untouchable, existing in their own solar system.
The eggs were also used as a medium in her performance art. Harper’s egg obsession seems to echo the womb-like feel of ‘Bloom Bloom.’ The recurring theme of life and movement is echoed in her stationary sculptures. Harper depicts sterile scientific structures through bright shape. This technique abstracts reality, taking the viewer into a fantasy.
In her work ‘Pool Studies,’ Harper created miniature paintings and tiled them along the wall to generate a larger piece. Each individual painting seems like an observation seen through a microscope. They act as individual cells contributing to a greater whole.
Harper simplifies reality through color, abstracting life. From afar, ‘Pool Studies’ takes on a graphic design feel. With a closer look the viewer sees the intricacy of the found objects, causing the interplay of dreams and reality.