We first came across the whimsical paintings of the late Charley Harper in an issue of Audubon magazine published shortly after his death in 2007, though he's been a favorite of both nature buffs and commercial artists for years. Harper is probably best-known for his illustrations in Ford Times (a promotional travel magazine published by the Ford Company to sell cars and auto-travel) and The Giant Golden Book of Biology--a children's classic which now goes for hundreds of dollars on eBay--though he also produced posters for the National Park Service, the Cincinnati Zoo and many others. Combining his love of the natural world with an uncanny sense of style, Harper's modern illustrations gloss over minor complexities like feathers, scales and hair in favor of the beauty of simple shapes and bright colors, giving his nature portraits a curious and playful demeanor not often found in the work of more serious wildlife artists like David Sibley. Strangely, by eschewing the rigid parameters of science, it's almost as if Harper captured the true nature of his subjects, even if he blurred the lines of reality and imagination in the process. This spring, The Public Trust (2919-C Commerce St.) presents an exhibition of Harper's serigraphs and paintings, giving you a rare chance to see the works of this late genius in person. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; the exhibit runs through April. Call 214-760-7170 or visit trustthepublic.com.
Wednesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Starts: March 11. Continues through April 30, 2009