Reception with the Artist: Friday, October 12th @ 6-9pm
Exhibition on View: October 8 – November 24th, 2018
Gallery Hours: M-F 10-6, Sat 10-5
(St. Petersburg, Florida) — The Leslie Curran Gallery presents PASSIONATE: Heike Mueller, an exhibition of paintings inspired by vintage family photos, a source material she discovers in flea markets, antique shops and used book stores. The exhibition opens to the public on October 8th, with a reception for the artist on the evening of Friday, October 12th, and remains on view through November 24th, 2018.
The Swiss artist returns to the U.S., exhibiting a series of paintings inspired by leisure. The series of “painted snapshots” captures moments of pleasure, reviving and reclaiming them into modern paintings.
Continuing the theme of her 2016 solo exhibition at Leslie Curran Gallery, the artist takes inspiration from the oddly comforting fragments of photo albums. Many of her source photos document family vacations long past—circa early 20th century—moments of leisure, on the beach, at a picnic, or on a hike, with archetypal scenery and visual cues that evoke the quintessential family vacation. Her compositions on paper and canvas transform these anonymous, informal, and often incidental snapshots into new narratives that seem strangely familiar.
Thus, the resulting paintings feel like déja vu. One might almost recognize a figure in one of Heike’s paintings as a beloved relative from childhood, with all the warm emotions that evokes but none of the specificity. Faces are often obscured or left blank to reiterate this ambiguity.
Mueller’s strength lies in her expression of the excitement she feels about discovering these open narratives, then breathing new life into stories lost to time.
By recontextualizing the imagery, fragmenting the composition, adding her signature color and pattern, and obscuring some details, she creates new stories that express a certain distinct energy that is difficult to describe, but not unlike meeting Heike herself—simultaneously joyous and reserved, casual and enigmatic. Each painting holds its own story, and the viewer’s own memories and associations are an important part of unraveling the mystery.
After studying art education and painting in Basel and Amsterdam, Heike Mueller continues to teach and maintain a rigorous studio and exhibition practice while building a family. Widely represented in Germany and Switzerland, Mueller has exhibited extensively in galleries and art fairs throughout Europe for the last 20 years. She now lives and works in Basel with her husband and three sons.