In September I selected a show with work from several local artists that represented a range from hyperrealist portraits and pop art to abstracted metal sculpture. The show consisted of works by Patrick Kirwin, Jack Labadie, Michael Winger, Sy Gresser and Grayson Heck.
Our reception was well received and garnered positive compliments. After the close, I made arrangements to buy “Sleep,” a cast aluminum work by Grayson Heck. I connected with the sculpture. While its titled “Sleep,” there’s more to it than just relaxation.
The connection relates to my association with the artist. I see this as a self-portrait. There is a contrast between the surface texture, the expression, and the abstraction created by the lack of eyes and teeth.
In 2003, I conducted an experiment on film using changes in composition and depth of field focused on a ceramic mask. I tracked the development of emotion shooting a range of works focused on the same subject.
In one image in particular, I flipped the lens backward with a close-up filter. I decreased the depth of field to focus on the lips only. The eyes appeared like empty, fuzzy black circles vs. another image focused sharply on the eyes. With the former, there was an eerie vacant sense to the subject’s presence; he wasn’t there contrasting with the other image that appeared to track you with his eyes.
I love seeing a connection between artists, especially when my work is involved. Grayson and I had no conversations about the subject of his work before it was completed. His creativity is independent of mine, but there is a connection of thought. His work stands on its own because of the hollow format with empty eye sockets. You could look at that as our departure into another world while we sleep, or a spiritual departure in death.
I find it extremely interesting to learn of an artist’s intent behind a work in comparison with my reaction to the work. I look forward to his response to this article.