Ann Harper

artist statement and bio

My art expresses our early connection to the magic and wonder of a world that still exists if we choose to change our beliefs and to alter how we think. Deep inside of all of us are memories of how to reach this safe place of power and triumph. We all know how to do it, if we search for the early memories that we were convinced were merely fantasies.

Biography

Sally (Ann Harper) Shanks, has been drawing and painting all of her life.  In college, Ann Harper took as many art classes as she could but graduated with a Bachelors and then a Masters in Social Work.   Having worked as a therapist for many years, her understanding of human strength and survival are revealed in her paintings.  Through her experience as a therapist in private practice, she has worked with many issues including childhood trauma and abuse.  How children survive traumatic events and how adults can reach back to re-connect with those survival skills has been a focus of her work in therapy.  These same themes underlie her art.  In the last few years, Ann Harper has shifted her work more and more into painting as it has been evident that people connect, on a personal level with the art.  Though still involved in a thriving practice, the art has gradually shifted her focus and has become her priority for the present and the future.

 

EDUCATION

 

1989 – 1990 University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan Masters Degree

 

1986 – 1989 Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti,  Michigan Bachelors Degree

 

 

 

  

Ann Harper Artist Statement

 

The universe is inherently balanced, with equal shares of good and evil, truth and lies, strength and weakness. Since balance holds dominion over all things, survival does not always go to the fittest or to the strongest, as many believe. Often, true victory is bestowed upon those with access to an inner world of magic, where each soul possesses the ability to create a world where evil fails in its quest for victims. In this inner world of childhood magic, evil is given little power to distort or to destroy and we are born knowing how to overcome and defeat the enemy.

 

We all had access to this inner world until most of us closed the door to the magic. There are many souls who have survived unthinkable horrors yet have come to believe that they are weak rather than strong, feel shame rather than pride. Authentic reality must provide an understanding that it is not that which has befallen someone by accident of situation or birth that defines the essence of the soul. Instead, we can be only be victorious, just as we can only be conquered, by the reality that we, ourselves, have created out of shredded memories. If we listen closely enough, the whispers of the past still lead to a door where entrance is granted simply through a belief in the power left behind and a need to live in the magic that was once our birthright.

 

My art expresses our early connection to the magic and wonder of a world that still exists if we choose to change our beliefs and to alter how we think. Deep inside of all of us are memories of how to reach this safe place of power and triumph. We all know how to do it, if we search for the early memories that we were convinced were merely fantasies.

 

We can find our way again, to a world where there are always ways to escape and often a way to win, even when evil stalks those believed to be without power or champions. A world where the weak triumph and evil is defeated over and over again. 

 

 

 

Copyright Ann Harper 2010 all rights reserved

Article from the magazine Slow Art

Obituary for Sally Ann Harper Shanks

ADRIAN –

 

Sally Ann Harper Shanks, age 64, passed away Saturday, June 22, 2019, at home under the loving care of her family.


She was born September 15, 1954, in Jackson, Michigan, the oldest child of Arlo and Rosemary (Creery) Harper, and graduated from Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn. Sally went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan where she graduated summa cum laude.


On August 14, 1982, Sally married Stephen Shanks in Houston, Texas, and he survives.
Sally drew and painted all of her life. In college, she took as many art classes as she could but graduated with a Bachelor’s and then a Masters in Social Work. She worked as a therapist for 30 years. Through her experience as a therapist in private practice, she worked with many issues including childhood trauma and abuse. In the last few years, Sally shifted her work more and more into painting under the name Ann Harper as it was evident that people connect, on a personal level with the art.

In addition to her mother Rosemary Turgeon and Stephen, her husband of 36 years, she is survived by her children, Charissa (Tim Signor) Shanks Redman of Manitou Beach, Daniel (Elysia) Shanks of Houston, TX, and Kelly (Brandon) Jackson of Apex, NC; brothers, Evan (Jimi) of Jacksonville, NC, Gary (Laurie) of ValDese, NC and Wade Harper of Brooklyn, MI; sister-in-law, Nancy Harper of Hudson; 11 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her father, Arlo Harper.