Curated by Chantal Soong Lee
Opening: October 5th, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
224 Waverly Place
Exhibition will be from October 5th-28th, 2021
Monday-Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-to 3:00 p.m.
The paintings in Yolande Heijnen’s solo exhibition, Someone, Someplace, Else span the years 2016-2021; depicting friends, strangers, and herself, Heijnen is, more specifically, painting the threshold of what is revealed and what is concealed, in personhood and relationships.
“These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased” (Rainer Maria Rilke).
This cyclical movement between the impersonal and personal touches on why paintings of people may continue to have a magical allure, and sustain an enduring curiosity for both those creating them and those looking at them. Embodying the psychological threshold of a doorway, window, and mirror, portraits create a method of looking out to look in—providing a way of relating to others that involves time, a generosity of seeing, and the belief that when we are seeing someone else we are also presented with an opportunity to encounter remote and unnamed aspects of ourselves.
With these possibilities for a phenomenological, and even interpersonal and social, experience as an engaged artist, Heijnen nevertheless asks, can the genre of portraiture be elevated today, or responsive in a contemporary world? How can a portrait look, feel, be, and interact—now? There is an inadvertent reply to this question in literature, an ever-guiding force for the artist: in Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, his own meditation on an interior’s connection with the exterior, and between the individual and the environment, he says, “When the image is new, the world is new.”
The paintings in Someone, Someplace, Else showcase Heijnen’s own quest for interpersonal connection and interrogation of selfhood in different spaces through art—living and working in studios, homes, and residencies in Greenwich Village, the East Village, Bushwick, Vermont, Ohio, North Carolina, and, most recently, New Berlin, NY. Point of view and proximity change between paintings, as does her relationship to observation and fantasy, with a growing emphasis on the poetics of paint and the language of the medium. In the background, of both her paintings and in her life, exists a belief in a vital kind of space, one meant to harmonize the relationships between people, interior lives, and physical material existence.
Yolande Heijnen was born and raised in Luxembourg, Europe. She is a Dutch national, and since 1998 has lived in NYC where she studied drawing and painting. Of her work she says: “The idea of connectedness inspires my painting. I explore the human form, not only visually, but as an energy center and a mind-state of possibility, depicting accidental fragility and a sense of randomness, blurring or dissolving the concreteness of forms. Things are happening elsewhere or are experienced peripherally, and the subjects are not always fully present.”