A Road Less Traveled (2015)
Acrylic and enamel on canvas
28" x 36" x 4"
Courtesy of the artist
Age five, Bronx-born Shelley Heffler loved topographical map books with their beautiful colours, shapes, lines and abstract forms. Age eight, she would squeeze through the bars and sneak onto the New York subway, checking the wall-map to decide her route. In her early 20s she travelled the world: jumping on and off buses, map in hand. Her interest in creating map-themed art is, perhaps, no surprise.
Heffler’s abstract works are created through a multi-stage process. Working on a flat canvas, the colour palette will be informed by the temperature of the real or imagined place, she will include topography, points of interest, boundary lines and reference might be made to satellite imagery. Many layers of paint will be added; sometimes they are dug into – creating indentations and revealing layers beneath; the canvas may be twisted to reflect weather patterns – hurricanes and tornadoes - or pulled and pushed to enhance the topography, resulting in work 4-6 inches deep (“the depth is real, it’s not illusory”) and then a final layer of paint may be added. Heffler is also a ceramicist and a sculptor – disciplines clearly present in her painted work.
For more information, see shelleyheffler.com
Hedge, issue 44, December 2016, pp84-90