Vernissage: Survival Tactics by Bunny Harvey in the AUP Fine Arts Gallery

AUP Fine Arts Gallery | 6, rue du Colonel Combes, 75007 Paris
Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 18:00 to 20:30

Join the AUP community for a vernissage featuring talented painter Bunny Harvey on November 21, 2019 at 18:00 in the AUP Fine Arts Gallery. Bunny Harvey is a passionate painter focused on representing both seen and unseen (observed by the other senses) elements of the environment. Come celebrate her vernissage at AUP. The exhibition will run from November 19 to December 9, 2019. 

AUP Fine Arts Gallery

Monday – Friday: 8:30 – 23:45    |    Saturday: 10:00 – 23:45    |    Sunday: 13:00 – 23:45

All external guests have to register at least 48 hours in advance and have to bring photo ID to gain access to the building.

Bunny Harvey
Elizabeth Christy Kopf Professor Emerita of Art at Wellesley College 

The work in this show, Survivial Tactics, is part of a project about plants in urban spaces which are considered “invasive” or “alien” and which basically go unnoticed and untended. They are a continuation of a ten -year series of works which incorporate hidden or unseen aspects of the landscape which alter our visual perception. Until recently, these works might have focused on the unseen elements of a traditional landscape... bird songs, the arc of an insect’s flight, the change of temperature in the approach of a storm, the smell of newly turned garden soil, the growl of a distant tractor. These might be combined with personal memories in a work that layers non- visual elements of landscape intersecting with what can be seen.

Similarly, this recent work draws on years of seeking out and researching the origins of plants which have found their way into untended spaces in the urban environment. In her hands, the elements of the marginal urban landscape of New York city…fence lines, vacant lots and sidewalk cracks...have become new marks in a canvas of neglect and rediscovery, where plant survivors have become both unseen understory and overstory of life in the city. Her studies in this realm hiding in plain sight in NYC, have led to the discovery of cliff ferns and spleenworts living in the massive sandstone train viaduct leading trains coming from the upper Hudson River into Grand Central Station. In her studio in East Harlem, these tiny green worlds in the cracks between the viaduct’s huge stones have become large scale paintings.

In a way, these new works are a natural continuation of Harvey’s forty -year pursuit of the visual possibilities inherent in ancient archaeology, the philosophy of time, and the silent world of particle physics. For Harvey, landscape has become a resting place where these elements collide, and form new combinations.

She has three degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design, and in 1974 won the Rome Prize in Painting, a two-year fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. “This was a life-changing experience for me,” she writes, “and a crucial introduction to the way art and scholarship could be combined in the life of an artist.” While at the Academy, she made the first of many visits to Egypt, following an interest in archaeology that began as a small child growing up in New York City, where she was once caught roller-skating through the mummy galleries of the Metropolitan Museum. Since then she has returned many times for extended periods to work in the rich life of the American Academy in Rome.

In 1976 she began a forty year career teaching at Wellesley College, and had her first solo exhibition in NYC. Since then, she has shown regularly in New York City, and in other galleries across the US, with major one-woman museum shows as well. Grants and faculty awards from Wellesley College have supported projects ranging from street archaeology in Providence, RI, to the use of X rays as a drawing technique,

Harvey describes herself as a serious gardener and cook, and divides her time between studios in Vermont - where an ideal day might be spent in the fields, woods and garden, and then the studio and kitchen - and New York City, where she might spend hours studying the plant life in the interstices of chain link fences near her East Harlem studio.

She and her husband, Frank Muhly, have one son, the composer Nico Muhly, whose most recent opera, Marnie, opened at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2018.