SAT-April-18-Gus-Harper-withworkIf you’re close to Santa Monica…be sure to pop into Essentia to see the art of Gus Harper. This past April 18, a solo exhibition titled “Minor identity Crisis” opened at the organic mattress store on Main Street. Yes, I really did say a mattress store…but I can assure you, Essentia is not your ordinary mattress showroom. The opening was fabulous with many of the crowd spilling onto Main Street.

See image: Gus Harper, in front of Minor identity Crisis VII, 66″ x 55″

I mentioned this exhibition in an article I wrote for this week’s Argonaut Newspaper – Finding Art in Odd Places.

For the past two years, Essentia (with the help of manager John Holleran and curators Lou D’Elia and Mike Salazar) has featured some incredible talent. D’Elia has been curating exhibitions for the past twenty years. He has co-curated an exhibition of photography from the personal collection of Peter Fetterman (of the Peter Fetterman Gallery) and co-curated a retrospective exhibition of photographer George Hurrell at the Palm Springs Museum of Art. D’Elia and Salazar wanted to create an alternative art space for artists to be celebrated. D’Elia said he was impressed with Harper’s art and felt it was his time to take off.

A Sat-April-18-3-GusHarper IllunitionI 24x36focused craftsman, Gus creates art on a daily basis. He maintains two studios – one in Culver City and another at the Santa Monica airport with fellow artist Chad Clough. He also collaborates with other artists such as Gronk, Luis Vázquez, and even his mother, Fielden Harper (a terrific artist in her own right). “Not every collaborative piece works out,” said Harper, “but there is one that Luis and I did together that I think is a cut above.”

See image: Illunition I, 24″ x 36″. Oil, spray paint, acrylic on canvas

He has been collaborating with Gronk for the past two years…creating nearly thirty paintings together. “It’s interesting because together we make paintings that neither one of us would make alone. It takes us both in new directions, and I’ve been mostly pleased with the results.” Expect to see some collaborative works in “Minor identity Crisis.”

I wanted to share what Gus Harper revealed to me. Poetic as it may be, It’s obvious that creating this exhibition has stirred up some strong emotions for him…or is it vice versa? Ah, how art moves us all!

“We live in an amazing time wSat-April-18-GusHarper-installingDJhere information and knowledge is being heaped onto individuals and the whole of humanity. The more knowledge we gain, the more we question the things we thought we once knew. It makes us question entire paradigms. It may even make us question who we are or how we want to manifest our lives. At the same time, as we enter unknowns, we may experience a lot of fear. And overcoming fear is a step towards thriving. Fear is an opportunity to be brave. This thought process has been with me while I have been making this latest body of work. It exists in my personal life, and it is part of my exploration into new artistic styles. Based on conversations with friends, I’d say this is a prevalent theme in many people’s lives. In many of the pieces there are symbols that represent the viewer, the thing we fear, and the tools we have to overcome fear.” – Gus Harper

Sat-April-18-2-GusHarper-Minor-Identity-Crisis VIIISee image: Minor Identity Crisis VIII, 30″ x 45″ oil, acrylic, spray paint on canvas

It’s going to be a fantastic art party! Come celebrate the brilliant art of Gus Harper, Saturday, April 18, at Essentia on Main Street in Santa Monica.

Enjoy music by Half Ton Gorilla from 6:30 – 10 pm; Josh Sternin-Moser (singer songwriter) – 7:30pm; Jaime Sol Black (one man band) – 8:30pm; Jesus Aldana-Alba (singer songwriter) – 9:30pm.

What: Art Party
Where: Essentia, 2430 Main Street, SM 90405
When: 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm