Heather (b. Belfast, 1968) lives and works in Reading, Berkshire. She studied Fine Art at Belfast School of Art 1987-91 (BA) and Reading School of Art 1992-94 (MFA).
Alongside solo exhibitions at 571 Oxford Road Gallery, Reading in 2019 and 2021, her work has been selected for a wide range group exhibitions nationally including ‘The Human Factor’ at the Star Brewery Gallery, Lewes (2022), ‘A Room of Her Own’ at Irving Contemporary, Oxford (2022), ‘Oxford Art Society Open’ Exhibition (2022) ‘Where the Two Worlds Meet’ at The Biscuit Factory, Reading (2023), 'RBSA Drawing Prize Exhibition 2023' at RBSAGallery, Birmingham and the 'Winter Group Show' at Linden Hall Studios, Deal. Earlier this year she had a two person exhibition, ‘Uncertain Landscapes’ (with Alex Dewart) at Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart, Northern Ireland.
Heather has been selected for numerous awards, commissions and residencies. In 2020 she was awarded ‘The Drawing Prize’ at the Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition, Ulster Museum, Belfast and selected for a Jelly (ACE/National Lottery/DCMS funded) ‘At Home’ Artist Residency. In 2021 she was commissioned by the Museum of English Rural Life to make work for their ’51 Voices’ (ACE funded) Project and selected by Waldemar Januszczak as a finalist in the Save Reading Gaol ‘Freedom’ artwork competition. She was recently selected as a profile artist on 'Artist Support Pledge' platform on Instagram and was the subject of a film by award winning artist/filmaker Matt Hulse for Jelly, Reading .
My drawings on paper depict unpopulated landscapes which are infused with a melancholic sense of loss and absence. Following the tradition of Irish artists in exile revisiting their homeland through their art, images connect to the fractured landscapes of my youth during the most turbulent years of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland in terms of personal and historical memory. A limited colour palette and the tonal possibilities of graphite create a haunting, psychological darkness and play with a dichotomy of beauty and menace. A sense of tension is continued through the intimacy of scale and a confrontational, single point perspective where the audience is drawn into my world to look and wonder, but ultimately held at a distance from participating in the scene. In a wider context this undercurrent of uneasiness and possible threat evokes the ‘eerie’ and links to a contemporary ‘Art of the Landscape’ where a disrupted pastoral view of nature is presented to suggest crisis and alienation.
Ideas around memory and identity and the ambiguous nature of home and belonging inform my current series of drawings on found paper. Featuring images of Belfast parklands from my formative years, these works suggest a partial return to a homeland, both real and imagined. Existing fragments of text, maps and landscapes from pages of archival materials fuse my own personal mythology with other histories and narratives to present unexpected commentaries and reveal subtexts. These deceptively idyllic scenes engage with the mythology of Scots Pine trees to suggest hope, renewal and healing and explore the parallel journey of my own identity alongside the development of post conflict Northern Ireland.
Click here to watch a short film by Matt Hulse, comissioned by Jelly, about my work.
Click here to read an interview with Chisara Vidale from Fern & Glade.
Click here to read an article about my work by Dr. Slavka Sverakova.
All work is for sale unless specified otherwise. To enquire, please visit the Contact page.