Angela Heisch, Snouty, 2018
ANGELA HEISCH • ALESSANDRO KEEGAN
JANUARY 4 – FEBRUARY 10, 2019
OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY JANUARY 4, 6–9 PM
As a historical movement, Surrealism emerged in response to a contentious socio-political climate as artists, poets, musicians and the like attempted to process their surroundings or look inward to depict the depth of the psyche. The two contemporary artists in HEED, Angela Heisch and Alessandro Keegan, similarly explore ethereal, psychological realms that seem to harmonize with our quickly changing times. These two artists depict vignettes of fractured space, voids, and unidentifiable structures that suggest idyllic yet unsettling parallel universes. Though the work might be interpreted as heralding a new and transforming universe, both artists insist on not using mechanical or digital aids for their labor-intensive mark-making. Their primary tools are simply hand, brush, and pigment. Relying solely on control of the hand to render such geometrically precise images with such delicate surfaces is no small feat and to do so in the post-internet age is both humble and defiant.
Both artists’ works teeter between abstraction and representation, with brief appearances of figuration. Keegan depicts unearthly forms situated in undefined, perhaps celestial fields. His interests in the occult, fringe science, biological systems, linguistics, and architecture are apparent in the ominous, dark, expansive spaces he invents. When translucent teardrop-shaped vessels connect to eye-like convex ovals suspended over sharp geodes, the environment feels symbiotic and purposeful, and we are left to wonder whether the forms breath or are dutifully generating some sort of concoction.
Angela Heisch similarly invents complex connections in her paintings and drawings, however, fractured space and self-contradicting forms result in an uncanny, at times psychedelic valley. Shadows, holes, fogged glass, and magnified layers are all implied by a variety of formal techniques, while defying the flatness of the painting’s surface. In some works, suddenly the suggestion of a face emerges once symmetrical eyes or nostrils become apparent. The modest scale elicits an intimate engagement from the viewer; it appears as though we are looking through a portal or microscope, gazing at an unknown organism, or perhaps, inwardly to our own subconscious.
Angela Heisch (b. 1989) received an MFA from SUNY Albany and BFA from SUNY Potsdam. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at 106 Green (Brooklyn, NY) and One River School (Allendale, NJ). Recent group exhibitions took place at Barney Savage (New York, NY), Mother Gallery (Beacon, NY), and Mana Contemporary (Jersey City, NJ) amongst others. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America and The Brooklyn Rail, and featured in Maake Magazine. Heisch currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and will have a solo exhibition at Davidson Gallery (New York, NY) in 2019.
Alessandro Keegan (b. 1980) is a Brooklyn-based visual artist, writer and adjunct professor with an MFA in painting and drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MA in art history from Brooklyn College. His work has been exhibited at various venues in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and The Netherlands. Writings about his work have appeared in journals such as Helvete (Punctum Books, Brooklyn), J’ai Froid (Castillo/ Corrales, Paris) and online at Ephemera NYC (nyc.ephemera-art.com).