Lonely Hunter: Andrea Joyce Heimer @ Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles
Nino Mier Gallery is pleased to present the inaugural exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Washington-based artist Andrea Joyce Heimer (b. 1981), on view until May 1st in Los Angeles. A recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation award and a finalist for the Betty Bowen Award, Heimer makes narrative paintings from the panoramic memories of her small-town adolescence in the heart of Great Falls, Montana.
Heimer's paintings evoke narrative friezes and tapestries, where outdoor landscape and interiors are organized into distinct rows or thresholds, each portraying a different stage in the lives of her characters. The paintings present a miniaturist’s detail, juxtaposing different patterns which, combined with the flattening of perspective, create something akin to a collage. Not unlike Hieronymus Bosch, in that most of her paintings depict human and moral failings, Heimer uses images of demons, humanoid animals to evoke fear and confusion to portray the evil of man.
Largely centered around the subject of loneliness, the artist’s current body of work explores the complex behaviors and psychological processes that occur within and around groups. As an adoptee whose records were sealed at birth, Heimer uses her paintings to create autobiographical mythologies that address otherness and separation as well as loneliness. The current paintings observe the artist’s struggle with these group dynamics during a church lock-in, at her high-school prom, as a witness to a cloudburst, and as an observer of the Montana firewalkers.
These deeply personal narratives coupled with the artist’s protracted and poetically rendered titles reveal a vulnerability within Andrea’s paintings. One such title reads, “I Have Always Wanted To Swim With Everyone Else, In Backyard Pools, Ponds With No Name, The Blackfoot River, The Bitterroot. I Took The Required Swimming Lessons In Elementary School But They Only Left Me Fatigued And Panicky, A State I Tried To Hide While Watching My Classmates Skitter Around The Pool Like Minnows. To This Day I Sink Like A Stone. It Doesn’t Matter How Much I Want To Revel In The Sort Of Weightlessness That Deep Deep Water Offers (I Assume). Yes, I Have Waded Into Montana Rivers Alongside A Slew Of Fish-People And Yes, I Have Smiled Extra Wide To Assure Them That Simply Standing In Waist-High Water Was All I Wanted To Do, All The While Knowing How Quickly I Would Sink If I Joined Them. But They Are Beautiful To Watch, Those Fish-People.”
This open yearning towards inclusion is reflected in many of the artist’s titles and paintings and allows an intimacy that might otherwise not be possible. The magic of Andrea’s work is her ability to create the inclusivity for viewers that she seems to be seeking and as such the lonely hunter has found her prey.