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Heather Leigh McPherson
Anytime Concept
March 6 - 29 2015
Premium On, 48 by 48 inches, acrylic and spray paint on clear acrylic, 2014
Premium On, 48 by 48 inches, acrylic and spray paint on clear acrylic, 2014

Heather Leigh McPherson moves freely between the melodrama of digital manipulation, illusionistic painting, and process-based abstraction. The formal and material dexterity of her work evinces a dual sense of the visual and the corporeal, underscoring the face as a site that draws the eye and the body into proximity. Anytime Concept highlights the functional similarities of faces, screens, and paintings: they are at once borders demarcating zones, and thresholds separating inputs from outputs in an attempt to translate one type of information into another. With this body of work, McPherson proposes an iterative model of subjecthood through the form of a goofy, elemental face, stretched and repeated across paintings and digitally projected GIFs. Acknowledging that faces both occlude and transmit information, the artist presents a recursive set of features that yo-yo between recognizability and pure sensorial mess, propelled by her use of buzzing color and distinct painting strategies. The exhibition’s title cheerfully suggests the possibility of a durable conception of personhood (or any guiding idea that transcends context) while implying with its own generic phrasing the elusiveness of such a concept.

Heather Leigh McPherson is a Providence-based artist whose work deals with painting, digital expression, and contemporary models of subjecthood. Recent solo shows include Hot Salad at 186 Carpenter and A Platform for Traits at Providence College; she was also an artist-in-residence in 2014 at the Wassaic Artist Residency in Wassaic, New York, and has upcoming solo exhibitions at Rockhurst University in Kansas City and Actual Size L.A. in Los Angeles. She has been on the full-time faculty of Providence College since 2009, where she teaches courses addressing painting, studio research, and contemporary art history. Winner of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts 2015 Merit Fellowship in Painting, McPherson holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s from Rhode Island School of Design.