Space, emotion, balance, color, composition, movement, gesture, fluidity, whimsy, and serenity are concepts in artists Maaike Heitkönig mind as she works. She questions the integrity of each part of the image and its relevance conceptually to the whole image as well. Since she was a child she has been fascinated by work which takes new directions.
The witf Media Center will be displaying the work of Heitkönig through August 22, 2012 during business hours at 4801 Lindle Road in Harrisburg, PA. A free wine and cheese reception will be held on Thursday, July 12 from 5-7 p.m. This reception is open to the public!
Heitkönig’s family is Dutch and has always had a strong interest in art. At the age of 12, she remembers being taken to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona to see the papiers colles (collages). She was mesmerized to see what Picasso did with the picture plane and the fact that he did not need to draw a representational image in its entirety. At that time her home was in the Caribbean where color was strong and most of the art representational. That vibrant color stayed with her when she studied art in college. Her drawings and prints at that time were influenced by her own whimsy and iconoclasm and strengthened by the conceptual approach to subject matter of artists like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rene Magritte, and Salvador Dali. When out of graduate school and away from the printmaking process, she avoided color and worked in pencil for about 10 years. She focused on composition and space, playing with slight gradations of light and dark in order to achieve a strong impact with minimalist design and richly textured drawing. From then on, a very strong feeling for space never left her. She remained fascinated by physical, psychological, and conceptual space. In the late eighties she began to paint again and to use color. She work focused on expanses of terrain, celestial spaces, and aquatic bodies. These create a psychological effect and deal with unknown worlds, boundaries, vistas, and moods. She was looking for an essence.
Two people from her student years have given her a framework and inspiration which she has used in developing her art. John Ross, Chairman and Professor of Art at Manhattanville College, and author of The Complete Printmaker with Clare Romano, influenced her to make thumbnail sketches to work out ideas. While using those ideas with conceptual components, those small sketches helped her to work on the variables of what she has to express. If her work is to have any impact, it must have visual strength and vitality beyond being a well composed piece. It is one reason she pursued an academic degree in philosophy and a find arts degree simultaneously. In graduate school (Pratt Institute), George McNeil, the abstract expressionist, taught art history. His focus on the sublime and, by contrast, his resistance to good taste was an excellent lesson which she has always heeded. His work was visually powerful within framework of compelling concept.
Working with the elements and ideas she has mentioned is exhilarating and she is always thrilled to respond quickly to the acrylic paint in terms of gesture, fluidity, color gradation, and texture, culminating in the integration of passages and fields in her painting. She also likes to create pieces in sections tied together by unified design and concept.
In the early 70s, she was influenced by what she saw in New York. Every weekend she and her husband would visit the galleries and museums, starting in Soho and ending up at the Metroplitain. It was a fabulous education as they took in the work from old masters, abstract expressionists, color field painters, to minimalists and much more. Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Jules Olitski, Carl Andre, Ellsworth Kelley, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, Louise Bourgeois, Cy Twombly, and James Turrell were among the many artists she followed. She has always been stimulated to see great work, but ultimately very satisfied to be in her studio working on her own directions.
Published in witf Events
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