HEATHER GRAHAM’s work explores the boundaries between painting and the experience of art. Paintings of faces are couched in a minimal visual language; the viewer is left to fill in the context.
With this work she has attempted to heighten the viewer’s involvement with her subject, to slow the viewer down and create a waiting period where they must stand in front of the painting for a length of time in order to truly see and perceive the subject.
Graham’s process is one of applying paint and then taking it away. She creates an image and then obliterates it. Large household paintbrushes are used to create a distance from surface details. The painting’s focus is diffused; as a result the subject is lost in and reemerges from a grey visual static depending on the distance viewed.
Rags are used to blur and soften the image, decreasing the tonal contrast. The act of painting becomes a reductive process of paring down unnecessary details at times to extreme simplification: a swipe or a smudge of paint. Her use of blurring details, repetition and shifts between appearance and disappearance result in visually stilling time.