Steve Harper - Construction, Sculpture, Drawing, Painting
I did my degree in painting at Wimbledon School of Art from 1985 to 1988 and was very fortunate to study there under Bernard Cohen, who encouraged me to look at emerging ways of thinking about and creating plastic art, through an introduction to the Systemic Constructivists “Exhibiting Space” and by guiding me to explore the work of his brother Harold and other pioneers in the use of computers in art. Subsequently, my final year work was almost entirely executed through a BBC Micro Turbo and a line plotter.
In 1987 I became fascinated by Islamic geometric Art and met Keith Critchlow, then head of the Visual Islamic Arts course at the Royal College of Art, where at his invitation, I regularly attended lectures. On graduation from Wimbledon, I was offered the chance to study at the RCA but turned it down in favour of a research studentship at the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology, Aberdeen; where I was to due to explore the use of computers in Art.
Fortunately, as it turned out, the funding for this research was cut and I remained in London, where I started a business designing and making Islamic-Art-inspired relief tiles. Examples of these (I recently rediscovered) survive at Ilkatron Studios in Clapham. https://milocostudios.com/2013/11/introducing-ilkatron-studios-what-does-it-mean/
It was while making these tiles in 1993, that I met the founder of the studios, John Lambert and with him and three other people, started Hyperlink.com, one of the World’s first Web companies, which we subsequently sold to Cable & Wireless in 2000. My interest in Art has remained as strong as ever but I have kept my work almost entirely personal, until now.
Despite twenty years as a “Sunday Painter” I have grown a deep interest in how people react to repetitive or systemically created patterns and forms and how the pattern recognition mechanisms that we use to navigate in life often extend into a search for meaning. I use what I understand of this to make objects, through which I look to strike a resonance by creating tension between the aesthetic of apparently natural structures and the observer’s perception of purpose or intelligent design.