43-01 21st St - Studio# 302
43-01 21st St additional entrance 43-02 22nd St
A graduate of the Yale School of Art MFA program, I have exhibited my work throughout the United States, with solo exhibitions in New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Among the grants and awards I???ve received are a Joan Mitchell Emergency Grant, an Elizabeth Foundation Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant and an Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant, scholarships to Yale, the Skowhegan School, the New York Studio School and UC Santa Barbara. I have taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC), Lehman College (Bronx, NY), Oxbow Summer Program (Michigan), Yale University's Summer Program (New Haven, CT) and at the UC at Santa Barbara.
Working on the parallel tracks of still life and landscape, I am captivated by the mysterious drama of light and dark. Raised in Southern California, I played in suburban yards with sun-carved zones of dazzling brights and cool depths. Indoors, I was transfixed by the film noir classics that were staples of 1950s television. That light outside, and flickering on our small black and white TV, is a continuing presence in my work.
Painted in and around my garden in the Catskills, the landscapes distill the northern light and moisture-laden air of the Schoharie valley into dreamy mirages that recall my California childhood, while the strange foreboding characteristic of northeastern landscapes remains. The still lifes are painted in my Long Island City studio. A kind of cabinet of curiosities, it is filled with natural history items, cultural artifacts, bins of fabric and kitschy detritus. The objects become characters in the [enigmatic] tabletop dramas I set up, with the colors of the fabric establishing a mood and an atmosphere, a sort of inside weather. I often use spot lights to create the same slashing areas of light and dark that I search for in the landscape. The intersection of these two paths lies in the perceptual and emotional appropriation of light: I hope that the precision of tone and color creates the vivid, slightly hallucinatory reality of an irrational dream.
All images and text copyright Paula Heisen