Ellen Heck

January 26 - March 2, 2019


Fascinators by Ellen Heck is a series of portraits in which the sitters are wearing Möbius strips and other mathematical or paradoxical figures as hats. Reminiscent of fascinators, these forms could only be worn and held convincingly in the two-dimensional world of the print. Using combinations of woodcut, drypoint on copper, and hand painting, the flatness of the figures is contrasted with the dimensionality of their headpieces. A narrative begins to open up between the adorned female figures and the Möbius, used by the artist as a physical manifestation of abstract or invisible concerns.

As the artist writes, “I was intrigued by the way in which some arrangements—especially the more abstract or painterly—could be read as metaphors for the mood or thoughts of the wearer. I decided to focus on the depiction of thought and types of thinking with a larger series of portraits focused on this theme. I continue to be interested in the idea that thoughts and emotions can be made material through art, and maybe even like a hat, put on and taken off at will”.

Heck grew up in Austin, TX and studied printmaking at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Beginning her professional career in 2009, she spent seven years as an artist-in-residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA. Her work is often figurative and project-based. Her recent series and portfolios include Fascinators (2017), Indirectly Attached, and Color Wheels. She currently lives and works in Winston-Salem, NC.

The artist will be present at the opening reception Saturday, January 26 from 2-5 pm. The opening reception and exhibition runs concurrently with Circling Back by Joshua Cunningham. Both shows continue through March 2, 2019.