The Art of Two Brothers

The Art of Two Brothers

In the Main Gallery

Todd Harper, water colorist and composer
Doug Harper, photographer and sociologist

This exhibition is dedicated to our parents, Norma and Herb Harper.

We grew up in a house filled with art, a bricolage of home-made expression. Our dad, Herb Harper, who spent his career as a biology teacher at Forest Lake High School, meticulously illustrated the guidebooks he wrote for his summer jobs as a State Park Naturalist and the articles he published in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer. In his later decades he focused on mycology, and he used drawings and paintings to supplement the photos he made of the mushrooms he studied.

As a young mother Norma wove wool on a loom which she used to make clothes for her family. She also crocheted rugs and wall hangings that still decorate our homes. Her hooked run on the theme of mycology (based on Herb’s mushroom hunts) won an award at the Minnesota State Fair. In her later life she concentrated on ceramics. Our basement was a factory of ceramics production, where classes of ten or more women gathered most days of the week. The house was abuzz with these lively classes and her three large kilns were seldom cool. For mom, it was not whether a two-foot Santa for the front yard was “art,” rather it was that the women who made it saw it that way.

Our parents encouraged our pursuits of artful lives. While our approaches are different, we’ve realized that we’ve emulated our parents, who saw art in everyday life.

The Art of Two Brothers