London Paint Club

Patrick Heide Contemporary – Andy Harper: Parallel Botany

10 September - 9 October, 2021
Image © The Artist, Courtesy of Patrick Heide Contemporary

Both Andy Harper’s show and the biggest painting in it take their title from Leo Lionni’s 1976 cult book ‘Parallel Botany’: a field guide to imaginary plants, presented with the appearance of academic authority – complete with illustrations and apparently rigorous references. That points to one interpretation of Harper’s lushly intricate paintings: that we are looking at unreal vegetation, so profuse it has crowded out the full space of the canvas, so heightened in colour it takes on a psychedelic aura – Harper says the acrid hues aim ‘to court the magical’, but accepts that they may register as sublime or ridiculous. And plant life is certainly in the mix: Harper’s father is a keen gardener, and he remembers being struck by the promenades of semi-tropical plants lit by coloured lights when he was a boy in Torquay.

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