The red in the eye and the sea in the sky: the former, the reality, and the latter only imaginable yet verifiable through shared perception. Abstract work can essentially remove itself from process as artists’ products subdue the viewer; however, the gestural exposure of process within the sublime product seemingly undoes this. This interplay of macro and micro within abstraction wrenches itself from its materials while simultaneously marrying process and product.
Currently on view at the long standing Reynolds Gallery, Heide Trepanier’s photography reveals the unending process of direct pigment experimentations. Perverse Totems yields a jet print series of bulbous, dazzling figures, chemically intertwined in stop motion.
The figures were birthed through Trepanier’s fusion of inks and fluids, including milks from a range of subjects and an array of other natural liquids. Trepanier celebrates these products innate perversions, allowing her materials to essentially “paint themselves” in their reactions to one another.
The results are undeniably swimming landscapes that exude the inexplicable beauty of creation through bonding. Of the Sea V pushes forth a milky, bloodshot eyeball, the byproducts of combustion, spreading from the upper corner throughout. The reds and whites never cease ballooning around and from each other against the flat, rested turquoise sea. Trepanier’s pieces therefore hold a certain potential energy evident in the halted movements she captures.
While there is a clear document of the process, the product of the experimentation eludes the viewer. We can never fully know or grasp the potential of our creations and Trepanier makes sure of this in her decision to reveal only one pointed moment. Trepanier saves her hand for this selection and grants her solutions creative rights.
Like many neo-expressionist works, it is Trepanier’s materials that are allowed gesticulation. Of Milk II, splinters a purpled atmosphere with interstellar teals. Whether the latter overcomes its predecessor, the viewer may never gaze but the conflict is evident within the hairline cracks, the dead water beginning to stir. It is almost as dismal as it is glorious, facing only raw potential with the certainty of its specifics unbeknownst.
Heide Trepanier’s Perverse Totems displays a neo-expressionist treatment of materials captured in a form of gestural abstraction. Her work upsets itself as the digital view is surely distant from the warped materials the artist herself was experiencing. Here the viewer further disconnects from the artist and further into abstraction we plunge: into a confidence of intertwining ourselves with another state of being, tainted with doubting reservations towards becoming what we could not imagine.
Heide Trepanier: Perverse Totems
1514 West Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220
September 18 – October 30 2015
Writing by Amanda Acosta