Throughout her career, the artist has switched organically between her painting and public art. She allows creative mediums to influence each other. After working on a series of paintings, she tries to recreate them in three dimensions. Dreamlike layers transport the beholder to imaginary locations beyond the everyday.

In the late 1990s, the artist started photographing storefront shops. Her photo-based paintings feature fantastical scenes among the curious objects on the shelves. The kitsch array may influence our psyche unexpectedly – a desire to escape from our immediate surroundings into an inner dream world.

Harvey’s first opportunity to create a window display came at Stride Gallery in Calgary. By visiting thrift stores in the city, she amassed a collection of unrelated things and exhibited them on see-through glass ledges. As a result, passersby could view past the knick-knacks to the artist’s paintings on the walls inside the gallery. Later, the artist created oil paintings and 3-D lenticular prints based on her installation.



At Barr Gilmore’s gallery “Solo Exhibition” on Queen Street West in Toronto, the artist set up five levels of glass shelves with similarly coloured objects signifying the depths of an ocean. Subsequently, Harvey documented the tall narrow display and created an oil painting of it, which she hung in the window months later. On and on goes this interchange of processes, from tumbling objects of glass and plastic to large-scale LED light spectacles translated into colourful dripping brushstrokes.


After the artist created a series of abstract paintings of summer carnivals, she wanted to design midway rides. Working with a local welder, she made an 18-foot-wide spinning carousel with solar-powered lights. Later, the Town of Stade in northern Germany bought this piece for their outdoor sculpture park. For Toronto’s Nuit Blanche festival, Harvey erected a 17-foot-tall Ferris Wheel with two lit-up wheels turning in different directions. However, the whirligig does not accommodate passengers but is an exploration of colour in motion.


Among her best-known installations, begun in 2001, are diaphanous walls amassed out of thousands of plastic water bottles. The artist designed the detritus to simulate the pulsating energy of falling water, which she then replicates in blurred paintings of streaming colours. Other layered images lead to wall-sized works of hundreds of colourful vacuum-formed packages.


Harvey’s recent large-scale public artworks also influenced her easel paintings in the studio. For example, the three-story tall “Gardiner Streams” digital print at Concord CityPlace led to her “Streams” painting series. Additionally, the hand-painted float glass windows at 25 Richmond Street East led to numerous pictures based on blueprints.


Recently, she has been translating her recent paintings into 108 flying drones in the night sky. Each illuminated drone represents a colourful pixel that flies in a pre-programmed pattern based on GPS technology. The artist’s design of nine spinning circles evokes her painting of a ceiling in the Hindu temple, “Varasiththi”, in Scarborough. An image of Palm House, the domed greenhouse at Allan Gardens, appears as a slow-turning satellite with multi-coloured lights representing exotic plant life. The artist directed aerial cinematographers to film her performance. She is now editing a six-minute art film incorporating close-ups of the moving illuminations, speeding up or blurring the streaming lights, and other special effects. In turn, this short film will influence her next group of paintings exploring the mystery of the cosmos.