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DCCA Announces Fractious Happy, An Installation by Heather Harvey

WILMINGTON, DE.- The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts announces Heather Harvey’s solo exhibition, titled Fractious Happy, on view in the Constance S. and Robert J. Hennessy Project Space through October 11, 2009. A combination of painting, sculpture, and drawing directly on the gallery walls, the work of Heather Harvey reflects on the unnoticed, hidden infrastructure of human life, including the ghosts of things after they are gone. The work taps the tension of the space--both physical and psychological--encompassing destruction, beauty, and completeness. The opening reception for Fractious Happy will be held on Thursday, July 23, 2009, during the DCCA Family Members’ Evening from 5 – 8 pm.

Using gallery walls as the very medium Harvey manipulates—by either building up and layering with plaster or scraping, sanding, and puncturing, her sculpture embeds itself in the skin of the perimeters of the space. Two walls facing each other seem to have been kneaded and coaxed into seamless ripples, water splashes, or undulating, concentric circles—as if the transformed flatness of the wall had been preserved as it was in the process of liquefying. Swells and dips in plaster applied directly on the gypsum boards render the hard surface of the institutional wall pliant and billowing. Harvey’s walls intone presence and movement as they frame a space devoid of objects.

The third wall, painted a dark Mediterranean teal, features a throng of black and colored wax-covered plaster disks. Originally trained as a painter, Harvey credits the palette and the mood of this wall installation to the blackening still-before-the-storm in Martin Johnson Heade’s Approaching Thunderstorm (1859). Abstracted with the energy of upward clustering, the ominous sobriety of the black disks is lightened by the pops of color lifted from the greens, yellows, and reds in the cited painting.

On the fourth wall, the artist uses an approach that feels both aggressive and delicate. After applying a coat of “happy, yellow-green” paint, she drills holes in patterns “poached from engineering dissertations” graphed through the Smith Chart, a visual tabulating aid for computing radio frequency variables. The graphs on which data could be plotted are circular with petal-like waves of lines that fan out. To Harvey, The Hole Drawing wall intervention reveals the archaeology of the gallery space as “underlying layers of paint emerge in a stratigraphic arrangement.” The serrated edges around the drilled holes suggest violence, wounds, or scars. She refers to this perforated field as “a constellation-like array of stippled voids…meant to embody loss and emptiness but also infinity and mystery.”

Heather Harvey (Big Stone Gap, VA) received an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, an MA from The College of William and Mary, a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Harvey has had numerous exhibitions in venues including This Century Art Gallery in Williamsburg, VA; Staniar Gallery, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA; the Lexington Art League in Lexington, KY; and Denise Bibro Fine Art, Inc., in New York, NY. Harvey is a 2009 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Artist Fellow in Sculpture and received the Christopher Bell Memorial Scholarship from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006 as well as a Residency Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, VA, in 2003.

Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts | Heather Harvey |  |

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