How do you become the sky?
Step into artist Paul Heyer’s studio, where brooms are models of the universe and apples turn blue, as he prepares for his MCA exhibition, Chicago Works: Paul Heyer.
Back in the day I was using real silk, because I was interested in Japanese silk painting from the 18th and 16th centuries. And I was using that material for a long time. But the more modern contemporary version of that is polyester, so I made these works in polyester.
And so we have this kind of forest scene, these magical blue apples, like Disney storybook. Then you have these glowing burn marks in there, these kind of sci-fi, supernatural light spots.
And that's being paired with a silver blanket, which I have—this is the prototype of the silver blanket. It's like a supernatural, sci-fi nap zone, where anything can happen. So it's sort of merging the sci-fi with the magical, with the artistic, with the dreams. Basically like a soup of environment where all the rules are off.
It's not my job to have any answers. It's my job to play and invite the viewer in to play, I like the idea of pulling back out those childish impulses, like bringing them back into adulthood, and bringing them back into the art world. And so one of those things is changing forms. Beyond that, in this case, like how do you even become that? Like I am the sky. It's hard to sit there and be like, "What would it be like to be the sky?" Like the sky is perceptual abstraction. So it doesn’t make any sense to say that, but at the same time it’s kind of a nice notion.
And I like the idea of having these sky paintings, all be just really casual. And these will be paired with these brooms [that are] meant to be models of the universe.
And so I think about that a lot: Things becoming other things. Brooms becoming universes. People becoming skies. Apples becoming blue. It’s destabilizing all forms.
All these things are coming together, swirling together, and so my job is to find a form for that and to take your hand a little bit and be like, "Let's enter this space for a second."
- Chicago Works:Paul Heyer–
- Short Five glowing white orbs seem to float above branches against a deep blue background.
- Long In this vertical painting, the background consists of a rich, saturated blue mottled with areas of both lighter and darker blue. Extending vertically across the background are three thin, dark brown branches. From these branches sprout small leaves of various reds, blues, pinks, and purples. The branches also bear three ghostly, translucent apples distinguished from the background only by white outlines. The most dominant element of the painting are five large white orbs, each with a faintly translucent white glow. Three of the orbs are aligned vertically on the left half of the painting, while the other two are arranged vertically starting at the upper-right hand corner. This leaves the background of the bottom right corner fully exposed.