Connections: Installation Shots


Now that the show is closed, here is a consolidated recap of some of the highlights: a virtual tour of the entire exhibition can be found here. You can click on the crosshairs to move from one location in the gallery to the next and move the cursor left and right to rotate the room.

EllenHeck_Connections_VirtualTour

A review by Wayne Alan Brenner for the Austin Chronicle can be found here.

And a 230 page large-format book (also available as PDF) with essays from these and the two previous shows’ print projects and a complete catalog of editioned prints from the last six years of working at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA can be found here.

WallyWorkman-Connections

I’d like to thank everyone who came out to both the opening and the artist talk, Wally and Rachel, the Casa Montessori kids for their willingness to get ink on their hands, and my sweet parents for letting me turn them temporarily into the shipping and storage branch of the studio.

Women in the Art World

EllenHeck_LetterpressAndTheLight

Recently, I’ve noticed several articles about women in the art world circling and resurfacing on the internet. Rachel Stephens, one of the gallery directors at Wally Workman, where I will have a solo show in November, just commented on this series of interviews from artnet published last Tuesday. Wally Workman Gallery was established in 1980 and is woman-owned and directed. An outlier statistically, 67% of the gallery artists are women.

Also this week, I heard from Erin Holscher Almazan, who has curated a two-woman show featuring my work and figurative prints from Carrie Lingscheit which will be open at Gallery 249 in Dayton, Ohio through October 18. She will be meeting a colleague’s “Art and Feminism” class in the gallery for a discussion of the work and asked that I answer a few questions. Since the request and format were so similar to the artnet piece, I thought I would share my thoughts here as well.

What is the significance and relevance of women’s experiences within a patriarchal art world (woman as subject and image maker; domestic space; children) in your work?

I am definitely aware of feminist critiques of the art world (specifically, what I would consider the top 1% of the art world about which so much is published). Many statistics have illustrated the underrepresentation of women as heads of museums and the subjects of solo museum shows, and financially, have shown that the work of women has not approached the highest limits at auction sales. I support the efforts of the people taking action to make the high-end art world a more equal playing field. I think it should be. However, at the moment, I do not live in that world and neither does my work. I am inclined to think that the affordable art world (and prints, even by well-known artists, are often relatively affordable) is a more egalitarian place in every way.

I think that the two most important things for an artist to have are 1) a clear voice and message and 2) the ability to find the audience for that message. It also matters whether or not one needs to be able to make money from one’s art to continue making it. If the answer is yes, then it is even more important that 1 and 2 align. Happily, there is far more to the art world than just the most exclusive New York galleries or auctions by Sotheby’s (though it is still fun to read about them and ogle both the art and the price tags). People appreciate art of many different genres in many different venues. In this larger art world, I am constantly trying to find, maintain, and grow the connection between my voice and the people who respond to it.

Women have consistently been a subject of my work for the last six years. I think there are two main reasons for this: 1) The overall focus of my work is the study of identity. My print projects often deal with this theme, and because I am female, this is a huge part of my own identity and something I wish to explore. 2) I grew up in a family of all sisters. They say that writers should write what they know, and well, I know what it is like to grow up as a girl, and have witnessed closely other girls growing up as girls. With most of the figurative and narrative prints, I am telling stories and showing emotions that I have seen and felt myself.

Does there seem to be a renewed interest in printmaking fueled by women printmakers?

I do know that there are a lot of women printmakers. The majority of the artists in residence at Kala (the facility in which I work) are women. I also think that there is a flourishing interest in printmaking at the moment, so it follows that women are a big part of that flourishing. But from my point of view, this has not been so much a gendered renaissance as a celebration of print in a community that is, in my experience, a very sharing, open, and supportive group of people. I love printmakers. And I have found that printmakers who are men are often of this same ilk. I like that printmakers often operate in groups and collectives, even while working on solitary projects. This environment is conducive to impromptu critiques and shared experimentation with new materials or techniques. There is often a lot of community feeling in a printshop.

EllenHeck_SinisterMoonCrit

Variations at Wally Workman

Today is the last day of Variations at Wally Workman.  It has been a great month, and I’ve been both uplifted and humbled by the support of the Austin art community.  Thank you to everyone who went to see the show, and Wally and Rachel for hosting the work.  Also, many thanks to all of the wonderful models who shared their Frida selves with me – most of your “thank you” prints were mailed this week, so you should be receiving them any day now.  Here are a few links to published reviews of the show:

The Chronicle 1
The Austin-American Statesman
The Chronicle 2
The Austin Eavesdropper
Aether Magazine

It was a blast! Now, back the old printing press…

What: Variations
Where: Wally Workman Gallery
When: June 1-30, 2012
Ambiance: to pick my favorite adjectives from the Chronicle, “badass” and “sublime”

the past 18 months: snapshots from the studio

The last crates shipped today and the studio is blank-slate empty.  Variations, my first downstairs solo show at Wally Workman opens on June 1st.  If you are in Austin, please stop by for some art and wine and company!

Reflecting on the past year an a half, I wanted to share some of the day-to-day ink and sawdust that would eventually become this show.  These photos remind me how lucky I feel to spend so much time doing what I love.  Thank you, to all of you who have helped make this possible.  See you at the opening!

 

In the Aether

Catherine Zinser, the print room manager at the Blanton Museum of Art wrote this piece on the upcoming Variations show at Wally Workman.  This is the first multi-page article about my work to be published, and it was a lot of fun for me to read Catherine’s interpretation of the new series.  She also explains several printmaking terms and techniques that are helpful to understanding many of the pieces in the show.  Thanks to Catherine for writing, and Rachel Haggerty for organizing this feature!

What: Ellen Heck: Printing Character, by Catherine Zinser
Where: Aether Magazine
When: Spring/Summer 2012
Ambiance: you ladies are making me look good…

The Plus A Century Exhibition Publication


With less than two weeks from the opening of Plus A Century at Wally Workman, the first finished books have finally come from the press. I have always been a sucker for paper between two covers and if there’s something on that paper – all the better. The book includes a full color catalog of proofs and plates from the show, a section on printmaking materials and process, and an essay about the choices – both technical and conceptual – that went into the completion of this two-year project.

Here is a blurb-generated preview of a selection of pages from the book. (Note to viewers: the first spread is blank, so you can click to the right immediately instead of waiting indefinitely like I did for an image to appear…)

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the show opening on First Thursday!

Publication: The Plus A Century Portfolio
Pages: 76
Publisher: Blurb
Ambiance: a real book and careful thinking about the Plus A Century project – with lots of pictures, close-ups, and love for the tangible