Kylie Heidenheimer arrived for her fifth residency at VCCA with work already begun on some of her pieces. “It’s what I like to do, to arrive with something in progress.” This ensures a relatively smooth segue into work without the added weight of a blank canvas staring you down from across the studio. And, as Heidenheimer points out, “You see things differently when you move them around.”
Beginning in 2010, Heidenheimer started working with more amplified color. This initiated a medium change from acrylic to oil, the acrylic colors being too highly-keyed for her taste. It was “an interesting adventure” since she’d been using the medium for 15 years and had to adjust her working methods to accommodate the demands of oil.
But the rich colors and translucent glazes characteristic of oil make it all worth the trouble. Heidenheimer paints on oil paper, canvas on stretched panels and canvas stapled directly to the wall.
It was interesting seeing Heidenheimer’s recent work after looking at a catalog from 2008. Not only was the vibrant color a surprise, but the looseness of her brushwork was markedly different from the more tightly controlled, all-over effect of those earlier paintings.
With these recent pieces, Heidenheimeris exploring what she refers to as “a twisted space.” You’ll see in her paintings how one side comes forward while the other recedes. Heidenheimer does this as a way to acknowledge both surface and depth. “The painting is both an object and a container for space,” she says.
They’re also beautiful with pairings of color that are interesting and satisfying, and a complex lexicon of marks, that range from daubs to jagged lines to washes. Hue and gesture impart a wonderful drama to her compositions that are, as Heidenheimer says referring to her constant reworking, a few paintings in one.