Dana Harper, Untitled, 2011, collage, 6 x 9".

Dana Harper, Untitled, 2011, collage, 6 x 9".

Dana Harper

Hiram Butler Gallery

Dana Harper, Untitled, 2011, collage, 6 x 9".

Artist Dana Harper is a preservationist at heart. Here in Texas, he is probably best known as the proprietor of Sengelmann Hall, an 1890s dance hall, saloon, and Biergarten in Schulenburg, Texas, that was shuttered for decades before Harper restored it in 2009. While the connection between a Texas dance hall and this artist’s recent body of collages may not be immediately apparent, both are the product of a similar compulsion: to save something on the brink of obsolescence.

The collages, crafted out of black-and-white images excised from old magazines, tread a delicate line between inventiveness and anachronism. Their appeal lies in Harper’s intuitive ability to combine people, things, and geometric forms into compelling visual arrangements. Most of the works have the feel of intimate, manufactured worlds. Harper is adept at layering elements of landscape (open water, dark skies,

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 2011 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.