David Harber has earned an international reputation for his sculptures, water features and other work. He manipulates, or at least uses light, shade, water and reflections to create a visual treat which works with its immediate environment to delight and intrigue. Based in Oxfordshire, England, where you can visit his workshop and display garden, he also has stockists in the USA and Russia.
We are told that he is inspired by the passing of time. This is most apparent in his range of sundials which include Berosus, shown above. Made out of copper or stainless steel it is inclined to its latitude. Hour lines, hour markers and dial furniture are all hand-engraved or etched onto the inner hemisphere. This is art, aesthetics craftsmanship and mathematics. Telling the time by the position of the sun says something about the real nature of time, the universe and our very small part in it. It also alludes to the impression of time that we have lost in this digital, to the second, age. A mesmerising piece, so much so that we felt the need to include a second image of it, this time seen from the garden path.
There is something absolutely idyllic about this. Can’t you picture yourself strolling across the beautifully manicured lawn, maybe in cricket whites or a flowing silk dress, to glimpse the time and decide that it is probably just about time for a Pimms?
David Harper also makes sculptures. This is Dark Planet Garden Sphere, made up of black puddle stones, washed smooth by centuries of gentle erosion in river water. As the sun goes down and darkness falls, shafts of lights begin to shine through the chinks between the stones. Labrador not included.
Another substantial sculpture, Portal is made from an amalgam of oxidized steel and mirror polished stainless steel. The two metals have been interwoven creating a series of petals and part of David Harber’s Heaven and Earth series of outdoor metal art. This example is around two meters high. I found myself gazing through it thinking deep thoughts about the nature of transition, change, journeys and mortality. I guess it was one of those days.
The Titan is, like Portal, made from an amalgam of oxidized steel and mirror polished stainless steel. It reflects the surroundings but contrasts to them. It is at once part of the landscape and at odds to it. It fits, but it doesn’t fit in.
And he also creates water features including water walls. These are a series of stainless steel water walls installed at Buscot Park, Gloucestershire, aligned so that they appear as a single stream fed by the statue of Aphrodite. This is how they look closer up, from a different angle.
The water walls are designed for their specific site and can be produced in a huge variety of shapes and materials with all sorts of pumps and lights. David Harber’s work turns beautiful spaces into extraordinary places. It is a pleasure just to witness one, to own it would be a privilege.