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An Exhibition of Harley
Paintings That Spring From a Flurry of Questions
LEco di Bergamo June 1, 1986
Maker of images, the artist offers a visual language
that is quite evocative...even lines become color.
Currently under way at the Cultural Center of Vertova there is
an exhibit devoted to the U.S. painter Harley, who has already
been a guest of our city with a showing of collages at the Michelangelo
Now using the evocative hall of the Cultural Center (ex-convent),
the artist offers a series of canvases that are particularly interesting:
about thirty of his works chosen from among his latest productions.
Harley lives and works in Ohio and is a proponent of a pictorial
figurative tendency that is today more than ever being supported
by artists and public.
Having defined himself as a maker of images, Harley
proposes a visual suggestive language that is immediately comprehensible,
whose lines, colors and forms are letters in an absorbing alphabet.
Harleys painting appears figurative even in those works
where the very lines are colors and drawing gives place to the
adept use of spots predominantly of green and blue which are arranged
into landscapes that are extremely fresh and spontaneous.
The main point of these canvases underscores the artists
proposed investigation in the direction of truth beyond appearances,
through a constant questioning. Convinced of the superficiality
of the knowledge man has of himself, Harley explores nature in
order to find questions to feed his curiosity.
Before guessing at some answers you have to ask many questions,
he is used to repeating, and his work, a total and absorbing commitment,
impels him to put to himself hundreds of questions.
To be a man and an artist, beyond definitions, is perhaps the
most difficult art; to know oneself and the world around you is
an arduous enterprise; then translating this knowledge into a
comprehensible language bears witness to a great sensibility,
to an extreme sharpness, to a profound generosity.
By Alessandra Orlando
Arte in Provincia
Opere di Harley a Vertova
Works of Harley in Vertova
LEco di Bergamo May 30, 1986
With about thirty works the American painter Harley reveals a
synthesis of his work produced during the eighties through the
capable personnel at Vertova in the rooms of the Cultural Center
(ex-convent). The paintings are divided into three precise periods
each characterized by various thematics: 1981 figures, 1984 nature
morte, 1985 landscapes. First of all it is interesting to note
the flights of fancy/whimsy of this artist who can create time
and again different expressions according to the subjects treated,
and who can indulge his fancy with new and original stylistic
forms without ever falling short of his clearly defined personality.
Figures insert themselves into surrealistic surroundings in search
of an intimacy thats metaphysical more than anything else.
Its a world, then, thats observed with intelligence
and related to existential conceptualizations.
The nature morte underline an autonomous presence
in the context of a neo-realism thats well thought out,
vigorous and intelligent. The landscapes, finally, connect with
a modern impressionism that is made of immediacy and freshness.
And all of it is presented with absolute mastery of design which
well underlines Harleys lived experience and a chromatism
that necessarily relates to style but which is the marvelous synthesis
of an harmonious blending of color juxtaposed to a rigorous severity.
You note immediately that youre before an artist with special
pictorial gifts, extroverted, rich with vitality, and without
ties of any sort to any current but rather completely autonomous
and independent. From this there come works of art that are truly
pearls, wherein the communicative strength of Harley
is rendered with clarity, not only with persuasive images but
authoritative as well. It is impossible not to get involved by
these suggestions of signs and color into which Harley has been
able to infuse his passion of an authentic painter
who can bring to the canvas his inspiration interpreted by a unique
The exhibit organized by the Civic Communal Library and the alders
of the Cultura del Comune di Vertova, in collaboration with the
Galleria darte Michelangelo of Bergamo will remain open
until the second of June.
By Lino Lazari
by Antonio de Santis
l Giornale di Bergamo-Oggi May 28, 1986
With the fascination of the former convent, where the Cultural
Center of the Comune of Vertova is located, there has been prepared
an exhibit of the U.S. painter Harley.
The exhibit, realized in collaboration with the Michelangelo Gallery
of Bergamo, displays about thirty works, some of which are of
huge dimensions, in which it is possible to witness the cultural
view of the world on the other side of the ocean of the artistic
production of Europe. Through certain neo-romantic aspects, Harleys
vision approaches the world of Europe with a fresh glance at certain
things and a simple one at others in which is seen the enthusiasm
that this artist has for particular painting of old Europe
in which figuration finds a very precise existence and being of
its own that goes beyond representation. Still representation
interests Harley to the degree that the use of color becomes,
in the context of his work, an essential and fundamental pattern
of his artistic procedure.
Narrative visions through which inherent poetic qualities become
misted over in rendering the real, lose the rhythmic cadence of
certain French painting of the 19th century. The clarity of colors
and their application become, in all probability, the focus of
the artists expressive moment.
Educated at Indiana University, Harley has taken courses in Greek
and Roman Art, Occidental Art, African, Indian, and Asian Art
in addition to painting of the 20th century. Beside these studies
add those of art and criticism with Ellen Johnson. The education
of this artist is thus complex and he faces head on all aspects
of Occidental art in its many forms be they sculptural or pictorial.
But even the drawing poses as its own logic which we might define
as European, though preserving its American temperament and vision.
It is well known that European art has always had a fascination
for artists on the other side of the ocean, above all for that
sweet and persuasive poetry, especially that of the Mediterranean,
that representation possesses. It is the melody of the tonic form
which never oversteps the context of the proper meditation and
never becomes a vulgar allegory of reality.
It is a significant exhibit offered at Vertova by the Civic Community
Library and by the Ministry of Culture, which has accepted the
invitation of the Director of the Michelangelo Gallery for the
preparation of this exhibit where the public can meet painting
different from that which habitually appears in the Bergamasque
region and that is tied to tradition.
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