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Artist Biography

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Sarah Hasted, Nathan Harger

Following in the hallowed tradition pioneered by German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, Cleveland artist Nathan Harger (b. 1976) creates starkly expressive black and white compositions that explore the industrial American landscape through the lens of a camera. The factories, cranes, power plants, bridges and highways he shoots represent this country's industrialized forms of production. But rather than engage critically with those subjects to offer social commentary about a capitalist, consumer society, Harger approaches image making with a markedly formal, aesthetic approach—and his harmonious compositions explore the beauty that can be derived from industrial structures when they are treated exclusively as graphic elements.

Harger's earliest works directly referenced the “typologies” of disappearing German architecture created by the Bechers by featuring photographic grids that echo the dynamic visual experience of city living. Now, his more recent images demonstrate an evolution in style and method that aligns him more closely with the great Abstract Expressionist photographer Aaron Siskind, celebrated for transmuting formerly familiar objects and locations into striking abstractions that are no longer legible as what they are. Rather than signify in figurative terms, Harger's images evoke by way of gesture and form—photographic equivalents of Franz Kline's dramatic, spontaneous monochromes and the reductive dynamism of Robert Motherwell's spare compositions.

Working in a similar vein, Harger uses photographic filters that eliminate gray tones and reduce represented images to dramatic contrasts of white and black, depriving them of their symbolic associations and presenting them instead as simple studies of texture, shadow, and form. He also removes the “background” from the photographs he takes, thereby displacing their subjects from context both literally and figuratively, and imbuing them with the gestural energy and impression of a calligraphic stroke or a work of Minimalist sculpture.

Nathan Harger received his B.F.A. in photography from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and he completed his M.F.A. in photography at Parsons School for Design in 2008. His work has consistently been featured in publications including Artforum, New York Magazine, The Architect’s Newspaper, The Paris Review, and he was honored by Photo District News as one of their “30 Under 30,” a list of “emerging photographers worth watching.” He has been nominated for numerous art prizes, such as the 2009 Santa Fe Prize for photography and the 2010 Prix Pictet. His photographs were included in American Photograph’s portfolio of “Images of the Year” for 2008, as well as in Wallpaper Magazine’s “Photo Graduate Directory of 2009.” His recent solo exhibition at Hasted Kraeutler in 2010 received much acclaim, and his photographs are in the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, Martin Margulies Collection, Miami, Florida, and Vertical Screen Inc., Warminster, Pennsylvania


 

Exhibitions

Nathan Harger

Dec 09, 2010 - Jan 29, 2011

CONTRADICTIONS IN BLACK & WHITE

Margaret Bourke-White, Harry Callahan, Michael Flomen, Adam Fuss, Nathan Harger, Idris Kahn, Vera Lutter, Raymond K. Metzker, Irving Penn, Horacio Salinas
Jan 08 - Feb 28, 2009

Press

DCM

Exhibition: Total Contrast of Black and White
Nov 15, 2013

Harper's Bazaar Korea

The Contradictions and Aesthetics of Black and White
Oct 01, 2013

Luel

Naked Urban
Oct 01, 2013

Art in Asia

Nathan Harger Solo Show
Sep 13, 2013

MK News

A City Intersection Can Be Beautiful
Sep 13, 2013

The Korea Economic Daily

A Car That Drives On the White Lanes
Sep 11, 2013

Asiana

Nathan Harger, Contradictions in B/W
Sep 01, 2013

Heren Magazine

Nathan Harger Solo Show
Sep 01, 2013

Interiors Magazine

Black and White Contrast
Sep 01, 2013

Paris Review

Portfolio: Industrial Spaces
Feb 11, 2011

New York Photo Review

Nathan Harger
Jan 12, 2011

ZOOM MAGAZINE

VISION USA: NATHAN HARGER
Jan 01, 2011

PDN

Photo of the Day
Dec 16, 2010

NEW YORK MAGAZINE

EDITORS PICK: NATHAN HARGER
Dec 13, 2010

NEW YORK PRESS

Review
Dec 08, 2010

THE ARCHITECTS NEWSPAPER

DIARY: NATHAN HARGER
Dec 08, 2010

Neit and Day

Photo-Art!
Dec 01, 2010

MANHATTAN MAGAZINE

PHOTOGRAPHY AT WORK: NATHAN HARGER
Dec 01, 2010

New York Magazine

Aug 01, 2010

New York Magazine

No. 29: Because The Ghastliest Highway Imaginable Can Become a Muse
Dec 21, 2009

THE NEW YORK TIMES

NEW YORK PHOTOGRAPHS
Aug 14, 2009

PDN

PHOTO OF THE DAY: NEW YORK PHOTOGRAPHS
Jul 22, 2009

WALL STREET JOURNAL

PARIS, BEFORE THE LIGHT - AND OTHER SHOWS WORTH SEEING IN NEW YORK
Jul 13, 2009

DESIGN ARTS DAILY

LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S A HELLUVA TOWN!
Jul 01, 2009

PDN

30 UNDER 30: NATHAN HARGER
Mar 01, 2009

THE NEW YORKER

Review
Feb 09, 2009

ARTFORUM

Review
Jan 08, 2009

Wallpaper

Dec 11, 2008

News

Nathan Harger

Nathan Harger photography included in American Scene Photography: Martin Z. Margulies Collection
Oct 30, 2014

Nathan Harger

Artist's Reception
Dec 09, 2010

Publications

New York

A Photographer's City
Mar 01, 2011