Andrea Joyce Heimer (b. 1981) is an American artist boasting a growing professional career. Still, it is rather easy to simply pass each other amidst the multitude of cultures in the world. Therefore, I was extremely happy with the opportunity to get acquainted with artwork which hits you straight in the face, which is so open and does not have the slightest hint of courtesy. Her way of communication is based on the American truth-telling tradition, and at the same time she is absolutely free from any correctitude, which is exactly what makes her works so refreshing and powerful.Uždaryti
The artist paints on self-made wooden structures. Her artwork is rather small in size and most probably painted with the slimmest brush. Heimer creates stylised images. The simplicity of form reminds of primitive art. Her painful openness and admiration for sharp feelings, however, are reminiscent of Frida Kahlo. Nonetheless, Heimer’s artwork is also an example of clearly sophisticated art. I would even suspect that historic weaving patterns and old-time textile actually told on the sound and structure of the images in her paintings, because Heimer’s artwork often has no centred composition and action seems to be ongoing all over the canvas all at the same time. Heimer’s paintings do not control the eye of the viewer, but rather lure them to keep wandering around, walking on something unexpected and becoming perplexed.
Montana Hot Springs with Danger Surroundingwon me over right way, because finally there was an opportunity to get a more exhaustive view of the world than that offered by the classical history of art. Here, bathers painted by canonical masters, naked ladies lying on beds and other nudes seem to be floating in a fantasy full of ever softer cushions, warmer ambient temperature (they do not even want to get dressed) and undisturbed by the looks of outsiders. They are only visible to a translucent angel: so soft and erotically modest. Even surrounded by men in clothes they look so natural when sitting nude in the grass. Knowing the long-standing experience of a model, this is not surprising at all. When looking at women painted by men, one may get the impression that they never heard of wars or the ways conquerors behave.
Heimer surrounds the bathers with an entirely different environment. The four girls are being watched by four men hiding in the bushes. They sneak closer and closer and stretch their hands to the naked bodies totally unprotected by clothes. This causes a feeling of danger and tension. The external impression of naivety created by the primitive artistic style grows into ‘finally’. Finally the object of admiration and erotica is supplemented with the foreboding of evil, female fears and maybe even some kind of experience of actual threat. The hiding men could be about to attack the nudes, but they could as well have opted not to. If you lose vigilance, you will become Europa (carried away by the bull). If you get the hang of the situation and run away, you will be a hysterical paranoid person.
The authentic female voice of the artwork truthfully speaks both about the fact that the history of consumption of images with naked women has been learned and repeats itself time and again, and that, unlike in fairy tales, this time there will be no one to come to rescue. If my words seem to be slightly strained (what if this is just a decorative piece of art which looks like a beautiful acrylic collage and the boys are the girls’friends?), other works by Heimer constantly speak about all the things that the artist is afraid of and all that she envies, including all the prejudices and strange rumours that disappoint the artist. Heimer tells the story the way she sees it, without any moral, without suggesting any ways out, and without any naïve hopes that the world might change for the better. It might be that she is telling what is on her heart, or maybe she is merely passing the message.
Heimer was adopted and her records were sealed at birth. Her artwork is based on storytelling and acts as a means to create and reinvent the things that she has no chance to experience: common past, common facial features and the voice telling what, where and how happened to her as a small baby. There is a lot of loneliness, undefined and designated fear, including imposed opinion (especially that on the bodily topic) in Heimer’s works. The great shortfall bursts out in a powerful stream of colours, ornaments, tense or ironic images and stories. The expressed loneliness allows experiencing the feeling of community with the viewers who might as well include the artist’s biological relatives. This hope is conveyed through the titles of her artwork. Heimer’s works clearly reveal the fact that art is a form of communication, especially suitable for communicating with those who are not here with us.