Heidi Howard mainly paints portraits that echo the intimate style of Elizabeth Peyton, rendering the personalities of Howard’s subjects. However unlike the most-recognizable motif in Peyton’s work, a close depiction of the face, Howard juxtaposes her subject against an intensely-saturated decorative background. Leaving a distinctive artistic mark on her canvas, she projects her customized style while depicting her subject.
Formally, Howard’s work provides an interesting view of the painting process and investigation of the portrait. Her work appears to be in an experimental period, combining then focusing on distinct painting techniques. Howard remains fearless—evident in thick, bold brush strokes. On flattened-pictorial space, she highlights certain signifiers (figurative features and placed objects in the background) that evoke feelings of familiarity with the subject. Her painting oeuvre exhibits her brazen manipulation of compositional devices along with acute empathy, necessary to portray the human spirit. Allusions to the Fauves color palette and usage of a painting–as a window into another world–surface in Howard’s composition; however Howard uses these stylistic motifs to separate herself from contemporary painters, using these tools to further expose her subject, not to flaunt her painting acumen.
Howard lives and works in Queens, NY. She was born in and raised in New York City. Howard attended Reed College, Portland, OR, and completed her BA program at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, in 2008. She studied in Italy during 2005 and 2006 at Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence, Italy, as well as Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, Venice, Italy. Recently, she received a 2011 grant from The Vermont Studio Center.
Contact Howard at her website.
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