The main gallery of the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center (JDAC) has been transformed into a new environment, featuring “Bloom Bloom,” the installation artwork of Dana Lynn Harper. Harper, based out of Columbus, Ohio, brings together the use of color, material and light in order to bring the viewer a sense of new space that is known by material, yet unknown by larger surroundings in her installation.
The installation is a combination of chicken wire, construction flagging tape and colored lighting effects. The flagging tape is cut into strips from large rolls of the material and then tied into the weave of the chicken wire. Sections of the wire and plastic fabric are then pieced together with zip ties and suspended from the ceiling. When suspended, the sections create an opening underneath for the viewer to walk under and explore. Harper notes that the accessibility and simplicity of these materials creates a connection of comfort with the viewer because the materials are very common and are not necessarily foreign in nature.
“Bloom Bloom” is meant to become an environment for the viewer. This environment’s goal is to evoke feeling that puts the viewer back into a state of childhood and urge the need for discovery. The ecosystem of the installation takes away pressure and anxiety through warm colors and a textured surrounding that displays softness.
“It’s an explosion of ‘fem’ to me, is the way I see it … it’s completely nondestructive. It has this softness in creation and softness in existence; and I feel that is the power of women in art,” Harper said, addressing the presence of feminine qualities within the work and its relation to the historical narrative of female artists.
The installation is feminine, yet limitless when it comes to being specialized into a certain field of characteristic.
“As we grow as a society, this distinction between genders is going to disappear, so it’s just feminine versus masculine rather than female versus male or woman versus man.”
This softness is prevalent in all of Harper’s work. The artist notes the influence of women in the art world and the representation of these female artists. The artist also discusses the presence of minorities in art, the underrepresentation of them, and how that has affected her work. The sculptural installation is meant to break any sort of barrier and place everyone within the same setting that is completely unknown. Harper ultimately wants an environment that is free of any limitation. This comes from her personal life and career as an artist, with limits being set upon her based upon her ethnicity and gender.
Harper originally created “Bloom Bloom” as part of her thesis work for her masters in fine arts at Pennsylvania State University. The installation initially took four months to complete, but after receiving grants, the installation has gone through five years of growth and continues to develop.
“I see all of my large-scale works as continually growing, so I don’t ever see myself stopping making the work; I think it’ll grow for the rest of my life. I see myself as an artist always making art and then my best works continuing to grow with me. It’s almost like I see them actually being alive, almost like our lives are parallel,” Harper said.
The inspiration for the sculpture happened almost by accident in the form of play. Harper was inspired by this material from construction flagging on her school campus back in graduate school. The plastic material then became a part of “Bloom Bloom” for its color and warmth, also a choice by accident.
“Bloom Bloom” will be up the JDAC main gallery until Nov. 2. An artists’ lecture will be held in Wilson Auditorium this evening at 5 p.m.