There is a strong tendency to discuss the art produced since the Second World War to fix it or compare it with the movements promoted in New York. And when I first saw Gus Harper's paintings, I immediately compared them to Georgia O'Keefe and pop art. Like O'Keefe, Harper has expanded the recognizable in an abstract form.
O'Keefe at his best work finds geological landscapes in skulls and flower folds. His is a dried out vision of the world, a reduction to the silenced colors of the desert, to the sand-cut forms. Harper's oil paintings also find landscapes within natural objects, but their reflection of the abundance of Southern California.
The landscapes within its fruits and flowers are the foamy waves of the Pacific Ocean, the rising of the clouds hitting the mountains that frame Los Angeles. The roses look starchy and ready for the Rose Bowl parade. The minimalism implicit in his compositions is the opposite of his use of a grid of small paintings to fill entire rooms.
Like pop art, he has focused on ordinary objects, using repetition and the flattened quality of advertising as a means of structuring the panels. Marco Livingstone's description of Oldenburg's work also fits perfectly with Harper's paintings: "Like the best of Pop, its effect is to awaken us to the strangeness of the ordinary, to present the most routine burdens of our everyday life as almost miraculous appearances. " However, unlike pop art, it is not a critique of capitalism or consumerism. It is not a separate vision of the world. It has replaced the irony for the celebration.