Caroline Otis Heffron begins her painting process by taking photographs of urban workers, street performers, and people reacting to life in public spaces. Whether in New York, Europe, piazzas or flea markets the juxtapositions of humans, statues, the classic, and grotesque are in constant interplay. A process of combining and repositioning images begins in the studio in order to create new connections. The psychological and sensual are discovered through unconscious gestures, expression and curvilinear ornamentation. Heffron has been pursuing her painting and ceramics after graduating with her MFA from School of Visual Arts. Heffron’s paintings have been shown at Kent State University, Long Island University, and La Mama La Galleria among others.
My art exploration begins with my photographs that focus on sensuality, cultural history and human emotions. I document contemporary and historical cultural objects and figures in complex urban public spaces. These images are the sources for invented theatrical tableaus that create nonlinear narratives which explore multilayered dream like states. The monochromatic artwork focuses on the formal relationships with dark and light man-made worlds that allude black and white cinematography, film noir and the hierarchy of social status. The color pieces highlight the sensuality and seductive movement of bodies, psychological emotional states and unconscious body language.
Black and white tonality is an equalizer of time, space and judgment. I explore how ink and water allow for fluid edges and transparent layering. However, color is loaded with such nuances and power that I also explore color for contemporary psychosocial anxiety. My use of complementary combinations are combative and delusional making everyday subjects disorientating. This confusion of space and color allows room for the viewer’s interpretations within the urban environments that are the backdrop for people’s small moments. People sell objects, hold prizes, dance and walk in a connected choreography where the cacophonous power play of modern and ancient cultural symbols collide.