Susanna Heller: On The Heel - Toe Express

January 8- February 14, 2009


Magnan Projects is pleased to present new works by New York painter Susanna Heller. 
The exhibition will be on view from January 8 - February 14, 2009.

On the Heel-Toe Express continues Susanna Heller’s interest in the Greater New York area. This time, her paintings are inspired by “Walking the City”. Heller explains, “The every day conditions of time and place take form when walking the city.  My aim is to record these conditions and moments of action, and to transform them into drawings and paintings. Visual knowledge is full of the contradictions arising from urban agglomerations. Is it possible to articulate this condition? The resolution starts with committing to a mark: pencil to paper or brush to canvas. You take a stand”.

The title On the Heel-Toe Express, (oil on canvas, 36 x 312 inches) comes from graffiti Heller saw on the pedestrian path of the Williamsburg Bridge. The painting started with drawings she made along the Greenpoint waterfront and over the Williamsburg Bridge.  They depict what happens along the walk: waves of fences, streets , unsettled and often vanishing horizon, dilapidated buildings, fire damage, new buildings under construction, skylines of midtown, clouds, sight-lines, perspectival swerves and drops, steam, smoke, wire lines, connecting lines, rows of cascading garbage, flights of birds and planes, wood piles, cans, wooden river pilasters, river currents, tugboat wakes, the bridge, scaffolding and cranes. All interconnect in braided waves or arches across the panorama on the canvas.

Art critic Eric Gelber observes about Susanna Heller, “She captures the energy of the roving gaze, the feeling we experience as our gaze travels great distances and traces forms, as if our eyes were drawing implements… Her expressive lines compress, elongate and blend actual spaces that are transformed by her imagination.  Intentionally heavy, the viewer is none-the-less drawn in to its rough terrain."  Imagery ranges from interior landscapes such as The Grand Central (72 x48 in, and 60 x 31 in) to the New Jersey Meadowlands (The Retreat to Newark – referring to Washington’s retreat over that land in 1776) to Pagoda and Crane (54 x 36 inches, oil on linen) one of many paintings made about the construction of luxury housing in what was formally working class Brooklyn.

Susanna Heller received her BFA in painting from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1977.  She was most recently awarded The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant Program Award in 2005. She has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Grant.  Heller has exhibited extensively, most recently in solo shows in Toronto at Olga Korper Gallery (2007), Magnan Projects (2006) and Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn (2003).  Her work is in numerous public and private collections in the U.S. and Canada.   Heller will be one of three American artists included in HollandMania, American and Japanese Images of the Netherlands, at the Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden, Holland, April to November 2009.  This exhibition celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims in Leiden, the Dutch in Manhattan, and the Dutch in Japan. Heller lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.