10/19/11 1:05 PM
Long gone are the days of dark continents and deep forests whose fauna and flora await discovery. Today we rely on novelists to imagine them and artists to depict them. Andy Harper has done that and more, somehow cultivating the lushest, dampest, densest of gardens using nothing more fertile than oil on aluminum panels. With painterly facility greener than any gardener could dare hope, he brushes tenderly pointed leaves and the slenderest of stalks, all by whorling and scratching his medium. More predictable methods for representing foliage might have produced something recognizable, but why bother illustrating what’s been pictured a thousand times over? Though fully invented, Harper’s muddy, verdant tangles are so organically lush and alive they buzz with the noises of insects he hasn’t even painted.