by Ariadna Zierold
Andrea Joyce Heimer (previously featured here) is a self taught painter known for her exploration of the suburban experience, drawing inspiration from the neighborhood mythos of her childhood home in 1980’s Great Falls, Montana. Heimer struggled early-on with feelings of disconnect from her family and community. Her sense of isolation continued into her teens, but by then she’d found comfort in a peculiar activity: observation. Through quietly observing the lives around her Heimer was able to piece together neighborhood tales of madness.
Part allegory part autobiography, her tremendously detailed paintings depict scenes of heartbreak, madness, and the emotional claustrophobia that stems from living as an outsider in one’s own backyard.
by Ariadna Zierold
The focus of Andrea Joyce Heimer‘s work is narrative painting. Much of the work speaks from her status as an adult adoptee whose records are sealed, meaning she have no access to her own biographical, birth, and heritage information. The narratives represent different perspectives of her experience as an adoptee: first-person autobiographical, the outsider-looking-in neighborhood observer, the archetypal orphan (the charming tramp). Self-authored mythologies of her own origins as well as mythologies of her home state, Montana, are interwoven with these themes.
The figurative elements focus on the interactions between human beings in moments of disconnection or detachment. Emotional themes of loneliness, anger, and longing are performed in symbol-laden environments including houses, yards, forests, and bodies of water. The distinctive flatness with which the scenes are rendered recall the flattened perspective of medieval art and speak to the “flattened” experience of the adoptee, whose lack of background knowledge represents a deficiency of depth to one’s selfhood.