Critical Review: “A Last Look Without the Pain of Farewell”

This is a loose translation of my show’s review in the local German paper. I have to say the reviewer has my work and intentions pretty well pegged, so I could not be happier. Here is the original German article by Isabelle Girard de Soucanton in Die Rheinpfalz.

And here is the translation:

“Artist Heather Kerley has been a regular exhibitor in the local art scene, mainly in group shows. Now, shortly before she is returning to her home country, she is showing her work in a solo exhibit. “Paintings and Collages” is the title of the show at Unterhammer in Trippstadt. It features her newest works on paper and acrylic paintings on canvas.

“The first impression one has of the room in the former industrial building of Unterhammer is that the work is chromatic, colorful, and, yes, so cheerful. The series of work along the wall at eye-level invites you to step closer spontaneously and to look more closely in and out at this almost excessive color. It is worth it. Kerley’s preoccupation is to bring color and form into existence for their own sake, from flat, concrete expressions to something that sings. And far beyond the palette of colors, it contains the irresistible nuances of pragmatism between shades.

“There are many variations of red in the painting ‘Veil of the World,’ without which it would have a monochromatic character between the economical use of green, yellow, and blue. Kerley bleeds a tone of pale rose over pink, lilac and violet over strawberry red until reaching a dark purple, which recalls blackberry or burgundy. In other images, Kerley gently blends greens over reedy greens, until reaching moss colors, without relying on a primary color alone.

“To the observer, it appears as play, an exercise and experimentation without a strict ideology. The works on paper are dominated by fluid watercolor. Each of them has its own color mix, crossing over pictorial formulations that play with the physical characteristics of the material.

“Kerley’s theme shows drips and color gradients, traces of sprayed or poured liquids alternately on stationary, horizontal or rotated underlayers. The result is topographies of lively, fantastic images, partly of a seemingly explosive origin, partly of a playful verve. In this process, the artist fulfills the self-imposed task of distancing herself from older works so that she can tear them apart and collage them into newer works. In addition, she goes with needle and thread into the image and marks in a wayward way a localization, which does not need to open up to the viewer. But the longer the observation, the more intensively the pictures reveal that the painting process itself may represent that location. Because, despite liberated playing with colors and shapes, the subjects are grounded in substance. All of this impresses. An exhibition without the pain of farewell.

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