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In reading The Bounding Billow and Three Years Behind the Guns: The True Chronicles of A “Diddy Box,” Harper noted a paternalistic hierarchy aboard ship. In looking at historical photos taken on Olympia, she noticed the demeanor and attire of officers was very “spiffy” compared to the regular sailor. The Officers Washroom caught her attention and made her think how the officers must have paid attention to their mustaches and facial hair. Her resulting installation represents a compression of time, giving the sense of the many officers sharing the washroom, trying to look their best. Mustaches and whiskers share space with over-sized items such as a mustache wax container and personal grooming implements. Mirrored surfaces visually multiply the objects and give the sensation of a crowded room of phantom beards.
About the Artist
Cheryl Harper’s undergraduate degree is in Art History from Drew University. She holds a BFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and an MFA from the University of Delaware. Her graduate studies in Art History and Museology were at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and Temple University. An artist, curator, and educator, her large‑scale woodcuts have been included in Allentown Art Museum Biennials as well as numerous national and international juried exhibitions. She was selected for the Fleisher Challenge Series in 2008 and won first prize in sculpture in Pennsylvania’s Art of the State. Her mixed media work and works on paper are inspired by American politics and international current events and have attracted critical attention in numerous national and regional exhibitions.