A Force of Nature at Atelier Newport
Bunny Harvey's paintings capture a hidden landscape.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JACK ROWELL COURTESY OF THE ATELIER GALLERY
Bobbie Lemmons, the Creative Director of the Atelier Newport art gallery in Newport, Rhode Island says the painter Bunny Harvey, who was professor of painting at Wellesley College for 40 years, “is one of the fiercest women I know.”
“Fierce” is an apt description because Harvey is also an activist who’s participated in many recent protests including New York City’s most recent Women’s March. “Everything that’s wrong needs to be pointed to,” Harvey said in a story about the march that ran in Variety. “It’s really important that we participate. It’s a way to explain to the world why we’re furious.”
But, when Harvey is describing her recent work, she expresses quite different emotions. “Lately, my work has focused mainly on the hidden, or unseen elements of landscape,” she writes. “The west wind bringing new weather. The buzzing and hissing of insects. Bird song and chatter, shifting pockets of cool and warm light, the scent of distant mown hay or manure or salt air. The feel of grass or mud or stone on my feet.”
The contrast between Harvey’s activism and art give her work a compelling quality. And the ability to capture unseen elements in paint is a rare talent. Now I understand why the only one-person show Lemmons has ever staged was for Bunny Harvey. As Lemmons’ says “She’s a force of nature.”
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