Colour Sensation: The Works of Melinda Harper

Written by Elizabeth Fritz

Melinda Harper’s vast kaleidoscopic collection of works has been carefully curated from three decades’ worth of paintings, screen prints, embroideries and much more.

Melinda Harper, Untitled, 2013, oil on canvas, 153 x 122.5 cm, Private collection, Adelaide
Melinda Harper, Untitled, 2013, oil on canvas, 153 x 122.5 cm, Private collection, Adelaide

Harper’s love of abstraction, colour and all manner of materials is evident in every piece. For her it’s in the process of looking and experiencing that developed her complex and precise visual language, which she translates into vivid and dynamic works. Nature and the colours in nature are two of her biggest sources of inspiration; it brings her awareness, she says. “When I look at green, I see ten greens, the flickering colours changing and the movement.”

It’s through this type of intimacy that her works are realised. The colours, which are all carefully considered and mixed by Harper, are also a crucial element in her paintings. Harper explains, “It’s the endless possibilities of where it can go next, and the potential in expanding visually is what drives me.”

Melinda Harper, Untitled, 2000, oil on canvas, 183 x 152.3 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Melinda Harper, Untitled, 2000, oil on canvas, 183 x 152.3 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Harper’s art is meant to encourage the viewer to really look.  Some of her paintings are lines as fine as pick-up sticks; some resemble glass shards or laser beams, while others lean towards mosaic-like patterns. Harper says, “I was always interested in abstract art, in the feel of the apple rather than the apple itself.”

Colour Sensation: The Works of Melinda Harper, Installation view, photograph: Christian Capurro, Heide Museum of Modern Art
Colour Sensation: The Works of Melinda Harper, Installation view, photograph: Christian Capurro, Heide Museum of Modern Art

Colour Sensation: The Works of Melinda Harper
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Heide III
7 Templestowe Rd, Victoria 3105
27 June – 25 October

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