by Kara Blizzard
Last year Keith Harder, Augustana Art professor and Chair of the Fine Arts department, went on a yearlong sabbatical. He pursued painting, drawing, and photography. Harder travelled to Spain and France to examine landscapes, specifically farms. “The whole idea was that I would be investigating landscapes in a rural situation,” said Harder. In the past he has focused on Canadian rural landscapes, but for this project he wanted to deal with an environment that was alien to him. One question he investigated was, “How does being displaced in a landscape affect how I deal with it, as opposed to being completely familiar with the landscape?” Harder’s highly rendered paintings show the minute details of the scenery, from hundreds of individual sunflowers in “Roussillon Hills” to the homesteads in the distance of “Roussillon Valley.”
Harder was in Europe for about eight weeks. There he took many photographs of the places he visited in Spain, Southern France, and Paris. He also created a series of drawings, which will be exhibited along with the paintings. Harder has finished four out of six paintings so far, all of which depict rural landscapes in Southern France. Once his exhibition is ready, he hopes to tour it in a series of galleries across western Canada. He also has a series of photographs from his travels that he hopes to exhibit.
Another project that Keith Harder has been working on is called “The Children of Icarus.” The project deals with abandoned aircrafts as subject matter. Over the past few years, Harder has completed both oil paintings and sculptures for the series. Some of the works, like “The Expeditor,” depict children along with the aircrafts, while pieces like those in “Navigation Triptych” examine features of the planes.
Harder received his M. V. A. at the University of Alberta, and he has been teaching at Augustana since 1992. He has taught Foundations courses, as well as senior drawing and painting. This semester Harder is teaching a third year drawing course.
To see Keith Harder’s most recent works, visit: http://www.augustana.ualberta.ca/news/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Languedoc%20Roussillon.htm
For some Canadian landscapes, see:
For recent Children of Icarus works, see: