February 2020 Unicorn Of The Month: Heather Renée Russ
Heather is another splendid soul I met while at the Vermont Studio Center a few months ago. Much like last months Unicorn David Temchulla, Heather Renée incorporates materials and methods I would never consider. Obviously I dont mean that in malicious way, I mean it in a this is another artist dealing with real issues...perhaps I need to expand my approach if I want to be more effective kind of way. I have no idea what I would even do, I am currently in "purist paint mode," but Heather Renée wowed me when I saw her work, and that is why I have chosen to feature her here.
"I have become obsessed with the tidewrack."
"The tidewrack is the evolving space on the shoreline where the mixture of seaweed and synthetic materials are deposited by a receding tideline. This creative tangle may survive—churned and changed—or be decimated and swept out to sea. The tidewrack is temporary, collaborative and evolving."
"In this work, anxiety meds, wig hair and false eyelashes combine with sea water and marine detritus to create liminal forms. Queer femme signifiers—the safe water markers— are important in this work. I make this work while contemplating what it’s like to create and hold space together in celebration while simultaneously holding anxiety for the next displacement."
|Anxiety Meds on the Halfshell. If you look closely you can see the imprint code on the pill|
|Installation views Heather's Governor's Island Residency.|
"In the past three years I have expanded my practice to include installation, projection, performance and printmaking but for much of my art career I was a portrait photographer and I am always trying to find fresh ways to loop portraiture back into my practice."
Light Refracted Overhead Projections of Sand -MASS MoCA residency from Heather Renée Russ on Vimeo.
"I’ve been working a lot lately with light refraction-I first started experimenting with this in November while at Vermont Studio Center. The projections depict queer femme artists, activists and sex workers frolicking and struggling to stay afloat in the tide. I shined the projector through a tank of salt water that refracts the light-changing the shape and color of the projection. The refraction provides the viewer with an interactive experience as they begin to understand how the effect is made. Showing the video this way gives an ephemeral feel that serves to remind the viewer the video is in the past and the other elements in the installation are what remain, but they too are changing. "
HeatherReneeRuss_Tidewrack_MASSMoCA from Heather Renée Russ on Vimeo.
|Installation view from MASSMoCA.|
Studio Tour-MASS MoCA residency January 2020 from Heather Renée Russ on Vimeo.