Monday, September 21, 2009

Widening Rift...

[“Raceway” (2008), acrylic on wood panel. “Lucky Stripes” (2008), triptych, acrylic on canvas. “Moor” (2009), diptych, acrylic on canvas.]

In her own words, Kylie Heidenheimer uses abstraction to interweave spaces and territories that are separate—in a literal or figurative sense. The result is an intertwining imagery that may or may not simultaneously suggest molecular, primordial, cosmological and urban aspects. With this in mind, Heidenheimer works to deepen and expand space and surface in her looming acrylics. In her oeuvre, emphasis leaps forth via paint’s materiality into realms both transitory and ephemeral.

In “Rift,” a solo show of her recent abstract paintings at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel running through October 17th, Heidenheimer confronts the viewer with the structural underpinnings of her work. In each and every space twist, viewers are allowed to see figure and ground conflate and separate. Figuratively, we can traverse every point without crossing an edge in this work—melding like the non-orientable Möbius strip. Alluded to are myriad subject matter: Americana, natural phenomena, cosmology, weather maps, calligraphy, and—yes—the primordial. These seem to blend at junctures: becoming traces of their former selves. Known for his mesh paintings, artist and critic Stephen Maine points out in this regard that “Pictorial fact is implied rather than stated, tapping into the part of the viewer’s brain engaged with becoming rather than being.” In boiling down this existential quality, Maine poses that Heidenheimer's work is a pursuit of the phantom image as opposed to illustration.

Pieces shown in “Rift” abound in fluidity. In “Lucky Stripes,” for example, one painting leads to another—ending up in a triptych. On these canvases, she skillfully exposes her media with evanescent spaces and gutsy, tactile passages that celebrate the paint’s materiality per se. Washes of acrylic paint puddle and pool in Heidenheimer's visceral pieces. Thick splashes and blobs either impose themselves or break apart and scatter in ethereal wafts.

In this show at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, the viewer is treated to Heidenheimer's investigation of, and fascination with, the dual nature of the painted surface—that functions both as a repository of matter and metaphor for space. The artist has previously shown in such venues as Ohio Northern University, Columbia University, Pierogi, Condeso Lawler Gallery, PS 122, and Sideshow Gallery.

Rift: Recent Paintings by Kylie Heidenheimer

Through October 17, 2009

@ 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel

532 West 25th Street, NYC 10001

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