Heather McAteer is a visual artist who uses drawing to investigate themes of identity, memory and history. Heather’s work is informed by two intertwining narrative threads. Firstly, her childhood experiences of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and her subsequent relocation to England; and, secondly, the historical narrative of loss, trauma and diaspora imbedded in the Northern Ireland landscape. Heather’s reflections on her identity, in particular issues of difference and dislocation, fit into the wider examination of the hidden narratives within social and cultural histories.
Working predominantly in graphite, Heather produces evocative drawings which harness the visual power of light and shadow. Aided by this limited palette, these tonal pieces are suffused with a melancholic sense of loss and absence. The drawings exist in a liminal space, hovering between the familiar and alien. The viewer is invited to delve deeper into these intense, intimate drawings to find the literal and metaphorical hidden details. Reoccurring motifs of vegetation, fences and trees incorporate the artist’s memories of a view from her bedroom window as a child in Belfast. These choices bridge the gap between the viewer and the artist, making them an active participant in the meaning of the work.
Underpinning this body of work is the importance of giving voice to the personal and political narratives of past and present, in the post-Troubles period. It attempts to reconcile ideas of place and home, in terms of longing and belonging, and is a mediation on youth, memory and morality.
Click here to read an article about my work by Dr. Slavka Sverakova.