Dana Lynn Harper and Lucie Shearer bring ‘halfway here’ all the way to Wild Goose

The new duo exhibit, which opens Friday, is the first to show in the art collective’s new Franklinton space

Jim Fischer
"Soulmates" by Lucie Shearer

This exhibition had its genesis pre-pandemic, retreated into itself over the past 18-or-so months and arrives now at a time when the world is wrestling with being relational again.

It's a process reflective of the path the two artists — Dana Lynn Harper and Lucie Shearer — have taken in the two years since the new friends, if longtime mutual admirers, conceived the idea to work together. The work charts this path, providing touch points along the way. It almost had to.

The duo show, dubbed “halfway here,” opens on Friday, July 9, inaugurating Wild Goose Creative’s new home in Franklinton.

Innocent and earnest were its beginnings — Shearer recalled finding a note from Harper suggesting the two work together sometime.

“Basically, it said ‘Let’s be friends,’” Harper said with a laugh during a recent Zoom call with both artists.

“I was painting a new mural over one that I knew was Dana’s, so I just felt like we should connect,” Shearer said.

"Oblivion Montage" by Dana Lynn Harper

Not long after meeting, the pair pitched a duo show to Wild Goose Creative. The pitch was accepted, but the world had other ideas.

“There is work in this show that is truly of the COVID era,” Harper said. “COVID forced everyone to go inward. There were things going on within you that maybe you didn’t want to examine so closely.

“I was going through this transition internally, from the person I was to the person I want to be. We had to be so reliant on ourselves."

“I went through a very severe depression in the middle of [the pandemic]. I tend to make work that’s very personal, to make an image that comes from what I’m feeling. So some of that was very dark,” Shearer said. “That’s part of the story, but in the last couple months I feel like I’ve had a major growth spurt. The work I’m making now asks, ‘How do we come out of that? How do we connect with another soul? How do I find color in my life?’”

Remembering we exist in the world, that we’re connected to other people and that those other people are all trying to navigate the same stuff are all topics that found their way into the pair’s work in recent months. There will be some of that in “halfway here,” too.

Neither artist was certain how clear that transformation will be for the viewer. That they have remained in contact while quarantined, and that the work will thus share both visual and conceptual components, will help tell the story, both agreed.

Ultimately, both believe the exhibition will be not only different, but better, as a result of the lengthy, unplanned delay.

“It’s a different show than we would have had, because we actually know each other now, and I’m glad we do,” Shearer said.

“We’re much closer now,” Harper concurred. “[The exhibition] is a beautiful testament to friendship.”

“halfway here” opening reception

6-9 p.m. Friday, July 9

188 McDowell St., Franklinton