The Robin Rice Gallery is pleased to present a photographic exhibition by Patricia Heal. The opening reception will be held on Wednesday, September 17, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The show will run through October 26, 2014.
In her ninth solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery, veteran artist Patricia Heal documents her visual narrative of their enchanted home in upstate New York. Hidden within untouched forests lies Peabrook, a babbling brook running through the property. The classic architecture of the house is offset by uniquely quirky interiors designed by the English-born Patricia and her husband, Anthony Cotsifas, which generate an otherworldly existence within the estate. “Peabrook is my Neverland,” Heal states, in reference to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. “It is a fictional place often described as a metaphor for eternal childhood.” Heal hopes that, with just a visit to the gallery and a little imagination, you, too, can see Peabrook.
Her use of the large format, now-extinct Polaroid film for her black and white photographs, and the warm soft colors found in many of the other pieces of the collection, contribute to the sense of antiquity and fantasy surrounding Peabrook. The whimsical subject matter, including mythical creatures and extensive taxidermy, complete the “magical” representation of Heal’s home that she strove to depict. The simply framed 4” x 5”, 5” x 7” and 8” x 10” photographs sit within large mattes, in keeping with the classical quality of her images. “I really wanted to work in film again, and this project seemed the right one to do it with,” says Heal, who lists Sarah Moon and André Kertesz as artistic inspirations.
The dark and mysterious invitational image, Willow, depicts a portrait of a hooded woman, her downward gaze partially obstructed by the soft branches of a fern from the surrounding garden. The earth-toned image contains the unpredictable streaked effect of developed instant film.
In another image, entitled Sitting Room, we see a positive image of a film negative. Most notable is the hanging rhinoceros head towering impressively over two antique sitting chairs. The rhinoceros head is an art piece made of resin; Heal says that she does not condone hunting, and collects taxidermy as homage to the animals. Taxidermy can found throughout her home, including a raven standing alert upon one of the aforementioned chairs in her living room.
Patricia Heal was born in England, where she studied art and theater. After receiving her degree in photography, she moved to New York City. Currently, Heal works for leading editorial and commercial clients, and shares a studio with her husband, fellow photographer Anthony Cotsifas, and their bulldog, Moses. She has received numerous awards, including the Society of Publication Designers Award for Photography, the Communication Arts Photography Award, a Nikon/PDN Award, the IPA Lucie Fine Art Award, and a Fuji Film Promotion Award. In her previous show, Patricia focused on the wild ponies of Dartmoor and their habitat. After it was shown at the Robin Rice Gallery, her show was then exhibited in England at Stone Theatre in London and Bangwallop in Salcombe, Devon.