Heather Leigh McPherson's Holey Surface, 2014, Acrylic on canvas, 52 x 44 inches.
PC Galleries present...
HEATHER LEIGH MCPHERSON:
A PLATFORM FOR TRAITS
Solo Exhibition at Reilly Gallery, January 14 – February 28, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 15, 5 – 7pm
Painting qua Painting Panel Discussion: Tuesday, February 17, 5:30pm
Heather Leigh McPherson moves freely between surface and space in dealing with painting in the digital age. Her paintings are playfully formed with vividly colored layers and glazes on diverse surfaces, and exhibit a range of cultural references, from Imagist portraiture and the raucous painting style of Elizabeth Murray to early Mac OS screensavers and graphic design trends. Her digital images and animated GIFs collage hand drawn elements, found imagery and Photoshop filters. Her forays into sculpture and installation bring to mind both shopping mall kiosks and the elaborate sets of filmmakers like Kenneth Anger and Pedro Almodóvar.
For her PC Galleries’ exhibition, McPherson has designed A Platform for Traits, a presentation of painting, digitally projected GIFs and installation to examine the complex visual and structural relationships between canvas and computer screen, portraiture and abstraction, and white cube and digital space. Taking faciality—Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s compositional allusion to the human face in art and architecture—as an organizing principle, this project emphasizes the ways in which the face, the computer screen and the painting act as structural boundaries between two worlds, and manipulates the traditional functions of pedestals and pristine gallery walls to propose a series of alternate viewing modes. As the exhibition’s title implies, these viewing modes present an opportunity to distinguish between the inherent traits of a thing—a line or an eyebrow, an orb or a face—and to identify where new characteristics develop through pictorial repetition.
Heather Leigh McPherson: A Platform for Traits is accompanied by a multi-format publication produced by PC Galleries. PC Galleries Curator Jamilee Polson Lacy provides an essay contextualizing the exhibition in light of recent modes in art history and contemporary visual culture. Art historian Daniel Marcus focuses on faciality in an interview with McPherson. Novelist Eric Bennett contributes a creative writing piece, aesthetically inspired by the artist’s working process.
About Heather Leigh McPherson
Heather Leigh McPherson (b. 1984) is an artist living and working in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to Heather Leigh McPherson: A Platform for Traits at PC Galleries, her recent exhibitions include a solo show called Hot Salad at 186 Carpenter in Providence and a two-person exhibition at Tompkins Projects in Brooklyn. This summer she was an artist-in-residence at the Wassaic Artist Residency in Wassaic, New York. In 2015 she will launch solo exhibitions at Rockhurst University’s Greenlease Gallery in Kansas City, Actual Size LA in Los Angeles and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. McPherson holds a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and a MFA in painting from Rhode Island School of Design. As an assistant professor at Providence College she teaches a range of painting courses, and has co-taught special topics courses within the Department of Art and History, as well as in the Development of Western Civilization program.
Related Public Programs
Painting qua Painting Panel Discussion
Tuesday, February 17, 5:30pm
The enormous potential of what art can do as Art always emerges when artists deal with the laws, limits and history of a specific medium. The semantic depth of painterliness can only be adequately appreciated if it is understood as the result of a process of dialogue with the medium’s diverse canons. Referring to this idea as “painting qua painting” in her catalogue essay for The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, an exhibition on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, curator Laura Hoptman conjures a timely dialogue amongst painters, curators, critics and art historians about painting and simultaneity in today’s digital age of instant information. On the occasion of Heather Leigh McPherson: A Platform for Traits, PC Galleries brings together prestigious members of the Rhode Island art world for the Painting qua Painting Panel Discussion in an attempt to expand and add to this conversation as it relates to panel guests’ own practices and roles as contemporary art professionals.
The Painting qua Painting Panel Discussion is organized and moderated by PC Galleries Curator Jamilee Polson Lacy. Participants include featured artist Heather Leigh McPherson, David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University Curator Alexis Lowry Murray and RISD Museum Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art Dominic Molon, among other Providence area artists and scholars.
Class and Group Tours
PC Galleries offers guided tours for classes and groups of all ages. Class and group tours are free of charge but require reservation. For more information, to discuss the specific needs and interests of your class or group, and/or to schedule a tour of Heather Leigh McPherson: A Platform for Traits
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About PC Galleries
PC Galleries at Providence College present exhibitions and public programs focusing on contemporary art, innovative artistic practice and interdisciplinary cultural activity. Operating within two gallery spaces as part of the Department of Art & Art History, the Galleries support the educational, service and community-oriented mission of the College with dynamic visual arts productions, including those that foster audience participation, cross-departmental collaboration at the College and cultural exchange at local, national and international levels. The Galleries ultimately strive to produce projects by artists and intellectuals who demonstrate how and why creative practitioners are vital forces in promoting diversity and shaping contemporary global culture.
All PC Galleries exhibitions and public programs are free and open to the public.