Having a change of scenery seems to be a positive and constructive part of an artist’s life, and this holds true for Heather E. Carey who has built her career as a visual artist emphasising the concept of public/private space and consumerism within local culture.
After attending the University of Guelph and obtaining her BAH in studio art followed by an MFA at the University of Victoria, Heather E. Carey became increasingly interested in the concept of public versus private space. Her current exhibit at Artcite (109 University Ave. W.) titled Semi-Private Portholes examines the idea of hybridity or duality.
“These pieces in particular are sort of functions of several panes of a window; the spaces within these paintings feature windows as institutional spaces, which are public but somewhat used privately,” said Carey. “Thinking about how windows and paintings you can see into it but there’s still a barrier.”
She said that her specific sourced imagery changes based on where she is living, but she often thinks about how her paintings express different viewpoints as a physical object but also what it represents. Among her influences, she noted that the German artist Neo Rauch was one of her biggest. Like Carey, he explored his own personal history interconnected with the alienation of industrial spaces.
Having moved around a bit, she realised that her surroundings were cultivating the way she thought about her work.
“When I moved to graduate school in Victoria, BC it was interesting because of how it made me feel,” she said. “You have expectations of it and it’s an idealised place, but it’s also a bit disconnected.” She started reading Foucault’s theories on heterotopias - real existing utopias in a small portion of the world that still represents a bigger whole.
“Our own personal relationship with space changes over time and has different access for different people.”
Currently living in London, Ontario she was initially pulled into specific elements the city presented.
“I like to think about how we move around space how it’s somewhat predetermined, and it might be different,” she said. “When I first moved here here I was really drawn to a lot of the signage; in the old downtown areas like Hamilton Road.”
She first began focusing on painting pictures of billboards because of her fascination with a composition within a composition. At first she was painting ‘somewhat realistic’ images, but quickly moved towards destroying the illusion of space by adding other parts to it. Semi-private Portholes focuses on the barriers between indoor vs. outdoor space, unique worlds within worlds which Carey captures with the use of different panels.
For more information on the artist, visit heatherecarey.com. The closing reception will be held at Artcite on Friday Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. with the artist in attendance. More information at artcite.ca.