Cheryl B. Harper

Sculpture and Mixed Media

Curatorial Arts

Installation shot from Underground Nights: When Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable Met the Y Exhibition at the Gershman Y

Installation shots from Catagenesis a site specific exhibition at Globe Dye Works.

Artist's Biography

Cheryl Harper holds a MA in Art History from Temple University and a MFA in Printmaking from the University of Delaware. Harper was the staff curator at The Borowsky Gallery at The Gershman Y beginning in 1998. Notable exhbitions included The Banquet: In Celebration of Outrageous Appetites and The Art of Hirschfeld. 1n 1999, under Harper's initiative, the Gershman Y added a gallery devoted to works on paper. Exhibitions in the inaugural season of The Open Lens Gallery included Kabbalah in Black and White: The Photography of Leonard Nimoy.

Contemporary Israeli projects included Nir Hod's Heroes' Tears and Orit Raff's Behind Closed Doors, followed by a multisite exhibition in 2002 titled LandEscapes co-curated with Israeli curator Tami KatzFreiman. In 2003, Harper's projects included a solo show for Art Speigelman in Not Just for Grownups Anymore, co-curated with Natalia Indrimi, and in the spring of 2003 A Happening Place, funded by the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a grant program administered by The Pew Charitable Trusts. This project documented groundbreaking exhibitions during the 1960s at The Y that included the second Pop Art show in the United States. In 2004, she reinstalled Sanford Biggers’ Whitney Biennial installation in the Borwosky Gallery. Since leaving the Y, Harper has worked as an independent curator with non-profit arts organizations and university galleries. Her most recent international project was Catagenesis, a show of sculptural installations at Frankford’s Globe Dye Works for which she served as a curator and co-director with Leslie Kaufman. Recent curated exhibitions include Compulsive Narratives: Stories that MUST be Told, an exhibition inspired by the graphic novel at the Stedman Gallery, Rutgers University Camden; and Home:Human = Cage:Cockatoo, part of Artscape 2014 at Towson University Center for the Arts Gallery, Towson, MD.

Artist's Statement

Cheryl Harper grew up in the upstate New York cities in and near the capital and Rochester. She is the daughter of a passionate feminist/entrepreneur mother and a civil servant father. One of four siblings, Harper was the only artist in her extended family and, for the most part, a quandary for them. She also devoured biographies of famous people, particularly presidents, their wives, and other major figures from baseball players to social reformers and robber barons. Her higher education reflects her interests and she developed into both an artist and an art historian, missing one discipline when not active as the other.

Trained as a printmaker, her earlier work focused primarily on large one-of-a-kind woodcuts. However, after several years she decided to bring her graphic and narrative sensibility to sculpture. She wanted to explore a major difference in scale and medium. She decided to be plain spoken about issues she was passionate about through her one-of-a-kind pieces. This body of work has been well received by critics, including her selection as a Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge winner in 2008 and recognition such as the first prize in sculpture at Art of the Statein Harrisburg.

In the past few years, her work has combined mediums but remains sculptural. She brings her interest in biography and social issues to her work, documenting the foibles of American politics and society through her unique artistic voice.

Selected Exhibitions

Period Pieces, James Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Cheryl Harper: Responses to Life as I Know it., Hess Gallery, Elizabethtown, PA

2014 - 2015
Cheryl Harper: Convenient Vanities and Political Fancies, James Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

31st Annual Wind Challenge Exhibition, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA
Under the auspices of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Dirty Politics, John Sloan Art Center, Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA

WALL PAPERS New Works on Paper, NEXUS Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA

Mental Pictures, NEXUS Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA

Ruminations, NEXUS Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA

Politics and Power, Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY

JOG10, James Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Heads of State, Hamilton Street Gallery, Bound Brook, NJ

Artship Olympia, Philadelphia Sculptors on the Cruiser Olympia, Philadelphia, PA

Surviving the Storm: Hurricane Katrina 10 Years After, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD

Victory for Tyler Biennial, Ice Box at Crane Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Juror: Anthony Elms

Symbolic Speech: Freedom of Expression, Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA

Sculpture 2013, New Hope Arts Center, New Hope, PA
Juried Exhibition

64 ARTS part of America: Now and Here, Buchanan Center for the Arts, Monmouth, IL
Juror: Eric Fischl

Opposites Attract, University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA

Over the Bridge, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Obama-rama, Projects Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Biennial National Juried Ceramics Exhibition, Northern Arizona University Art Museum, Flagstaff, AZ
Juror: Kurt Weiser

Crossing Lines, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE
Juror: Darcie Alexander, Chief Curator, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Interrogating Beauty, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE
Juror: Eleanor Heartney

Party Headquarters: Voting is Just the Beginning, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NY
Curator: Eleanor Heartney and Larry Litt

Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2008, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
Juried Exhibition

Take Issue, Washington Square, Washington, DC
Juried Exhibition

Philadelphia Sculptors at West Chester, University West Chester, PA
Juried Exhibition

Sideways: A Poets’ & Artists’ Collaboration, The Chestnut Hill Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2007, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
Juried Exhibition

National Spring Open Juried Exhibition, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
Juror: Mark Van Proyen, San Francisco Art Institute

CraftForms: 12th Annual International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Craft, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
Juror: Gretchen G. Keyworth, Fuller Craft Museum

Combining Forces, Howard County Art Center, Ellicott City, MD
Juried Exhibition

Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2006, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
Juried Exhibition

Craft Art: Western New York 2006, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY
Juror: Lloyd E. Herman

73rd Annual International Competition, The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibtion

Articles of Faith: Sacred Objects and Secular Narratives, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
Curator: gerard brown

26th Biennial Juried Exhibition, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Juror: Paul Master-Kamik

Painted Words: The Intersection of Art and Language, Borowsky Gallery at the Gershman Y, Philadelphia PA

Bodyworks, Cheryl Harper, Co-Editor, Broadcast channel 12 WHYY, Philadelphia PA

4th Biennial Works on Paper, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA
Juror: Paul Wong, director of Dieu Donne Paper Mill, NY

Color Now, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA
Juror: Laura Rosenstock, Museum of Modern Art

23rd Annual Juried Exhibition, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Juror: Cheryl Brutvan, Albright Knox Gallery

Hilo National Drawing Exhibition, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI
Juror: Howardena Pindell

Artist's Bibliography

Holahan, Jane, “A Thinking Person’s Art: Cheryl Harper’s 3-D works convey ideas on death, politics,” Lancaster Daily News, January 26, 2017

Bellantoni, Ralph J., Review,

Munden, Christopher, Blog post,, September 15, 2016

Roan, Liz, Blog Post,, August 29, 2016

Newhall, Edith, Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 16, 2016

Newhall, Edith, Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 14, 2014

Stone, Kelly and Erica Minutella, Interview, Paperclips215, December 12, 2014

Schwartz, Chip, Review, "Cheryl Harper Solidifies Social and Political Absurdity at James Oliver Gallery," Knight Arts, December 5, 2014

Findlay, Lauren, "Dark Vanities-Cheryl Harper at the James Oliver Gallery," Artblog, December 3, 2014

“Post Modern Icons” cover illustration, Bucks County Courier Times, April 19, 2013 and April 21, 2013, D3

Rice, Robin, “Obama-rama,” ART News, April 2009, p. 121

Rice, Robin, “Hot off the Prez,” Philadelphia City Paper, February 10, 2009, y

Campello, F. Lennox, “Went to Projects Last Friday,” Daily Campello Art News, Sunday, February 8, 2009

Newhall, Edith, “Threesome,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, November 2, 2008, Arts and Entertainment H8

Higgens, Ed, “New, serious artists emerge in Fleisher Art Memorial’s series,” Icon Magazine Philadelphia, November, 2008, Cover and page 1 and 12

Fallon, Roberta, “Weekly Update – Social commentary at Fleisher Challenge 1,” Artblog, October 29, 2008

Fallon, Roberta, “The first Wind Fleisher Challenge tackles political and social issues,” Philadelphia Weekly, October 29, 2008

Wilton, Kris, "R. Luke DuBois in New York,", October 2, 2008

Pirro, J.F. and Dawn E. Warden, “Art Appreciation,” Main Line Today, August 18, 2008, p. 92

Donohoe, Victoria, “Local artists make mark on exhibit,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Friday, August 1, 2008, Weekend W36 ill

Wonkette,” DC gossip, February 11, 2008

Donohoe, Victoria, “Local artists make mark on exhibit ‘Art of the State’ has one of its best displays, with many regional works,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, February 10, 2008, Section L14

Wojcik, Sarah, “Political, provocative: Harper’s work in Sloan,” The Eagle’s Eye, November 14, 2007

Bitts, Maryalice, Lancaster Online, August 7, 2007

Donohoe, Victoria, “Local Pride at Harrisburg Show,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, July 29, 2007, Section L

Fowler, Marie, “Wayne Art Center display features the fanciful and the topical,” Suburban and Wayne Times Main Line Times Ticket June 28, 2007

Donohoe, Victoria, “Local Pride at Harrisburg Show,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, June 29, 2007, Section L

Donohoe, Victoria, “Focus is on the figure at Wayne,” Philadelphia Inquirer Weekend, Sunday, June 24, 2007

Donohoe, Victoria, “A Grand Slam on the Main Line,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, December 17, 2006, Section L

Philadelphia Inquirer (W31), Friday, September 30, 2005

Rosen, Jennifer, “Main Line artist explains ‘Mental Pictures’: Three simultaneous exhibits keep Cheryl Harper busy,” Main Line Life, April 13, 1995

Art Matters, Cheryl Harper “Ruminations,” May 1993

Chambless, John, “Artist Cheryl Harper explores grim history,” Daily Local News, October 12, 1991

Awards and Honors

National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop, “Black Mountain College: An Artistic and Educational Legacy” Scholar

Anderson Ranch Presidential Scholarship Award

“The Gilded Age” Scholar, National Endowment for the Humanities Landmark and Culture workshop, Washington, DC

Fleisher Challenge, Philadelphia Museum of Art Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

First Prize in Sculpture, Art of the State, Harrisburg, PA

ARTFRONT Partnership, Window Project, Philadelphia, PA
Collaboration with Carla Lombardi

Main Line Art Center Award, Color Now, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

Bertha Anolic Memorial Fine Arts Award, Gratz College, Philadelphia, PA
Travel grant to Israel


Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
MA, Art History

University of Delaware, Newark, DE

BFA Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, PA

Drew University, Madison, NJ