Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Heather Neavy


 I would like to introduce you to an artist who has caught my eye. I know very little about her but I think her work is fantastic

 Since her paintings are untitled, I can only guess what they are about but they have an intensity that is compelling and a technical skill that is very exciting to see 

Heather Nevay was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 13th January 1965. She studied at Glasgow School of Art and graduated with BA Hons., Art and Design (Printed Textiles) in 1988. 

Heather uses symbolism to express ideas of heroism, weakness, fear and the shifting balance of human relationships. 

Her paintings are mostly figurative with colour being 
an important element of her work.

Let's start with something that is vaguely familiar - what I take to be her version of Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Alice through the looking glass 

This is only guess work, mind you, but surely that is a pensive Cheshire cat at the boys' feet and an infantile Alice on its back?

I have featured elsewhere on this blog the remarkable work of Mike Worrall. 

In Heather Neavy's lovely double portrait (below) there are echoes of Worrall's work perhaps in the hooped skirt, something Worrall himself took from Velasquez

Apart from the quality of her figurative work, note the beautiful Renaissance-like landscape setting - very fine indeed


There is something medieval about her iconography - a 14th Century myth about a lady and a unicorn? Is that what this painting is about?

It also has about it something of an elaborate tapestry, full of mythical characters and fabulous beasts. I discern here an historical sensibility - but then, that too is guess work on my part I'm afraid.

What do you think its about? 

 This does of course raise the question: Does it have to be about anything?

The answer of course is 'No' but the rich narrative detail of these paintings does invite interpretation

 Since Heather has deliberately (?) chosen not to title her paintings, it is up to us to 'read' into them what we will. That way lies madness!

What I also like about these enigmatic paintings is the fact that the figures are staring straight at the viewer - as if somewhat resentful of our interest in their secret lives

Surrealism never sought answers, only tried to raise questions

It was Cocteau who said that a work of art should cover us in question marks

Heather Neavy's remarkable inventions do just that - with their 'fabulous' (in every sense) narratives and enigmatic figures caught unexpectedly in their intensely private worlds by inquisitive viewers - like me!

Mike Healey 

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