Jessica Todd Harper: Here

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"A 'wrong' family moment that is full of truth."

Like seventeenth century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Jessica Todd Harper looks for the worth in everyday moments. The characters in her imagery are the people around her- her friends, herself, family- but it is not so much they who are important as the way in which they are organized and lit. A woman helping her child practice the piano is not a particularly sacred moment but as in a Vermeer painting, the way the composition and lighting influence the content suggests that perhaps it is.

Most of the time everyday scenes don’t mean anything to us- in fact, it is a modern truism that we seek to be distracted from them. We scroll through our phones rather than be alone with our thoughts, our selves or even our families. This collection of photographs makes use of what is right in front of me, what is here, a place that many of us came to contemplate especially during the pandemic. Beauty, goodness and truth can reveal themselves in daily life, much like in Kant’s notion of the Sublime or simply in the Dutch paintings of everyday domestic scenes that are somehow lit up with purport. Our unexamined or even boring surroundings can sometimes be illuminating.

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