Currently exhibiting at Mary Boone Gallery in New York until March 1st is German artist Kati Heck. Heck earned her Masters in Painting from the Akademie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp and has recently exhibited at Annie Gentils Gallery in Antwerp and Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles. The artist has previously been featured on DailyServing.
Heck creates colossal paintings that link cultural imagery to give the allusion of collage. Formally reminiscent of Rita Ackerman and often somewhat disturbing, Heck’s visual language includes references to art history, pornography, cartoon, and film. Each painting presents a new narrative, such as in “No Time for Masterpieces: Ascension Commando,” which uses the gazes and gestures of the characters to direct the viewer across the canvas. This seemingly nonsensical, but incredibly theatrical, composition takes place over an image of the German flag, executed in huge painterly gestures. The anatomical anomalies and burlesque quality of these characters is initially confusing, but Heck’s compositional tour de force is helpfully arranged according to our natural left-to-right scanpath. The masterful execution in the artist’s chosen traditional medium of oil adds technical sophistication, and references to Magritte enhance the integrity of the work. By juxtaposing the formality of academic painting with inchoate imagery, Heck engages the viewer in an intellectual striptease. We want to know more.