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Art Press n° 355, April 2009

Art Press n° 355, April 2009

Exhibition review by Didier Arnaudet
Orthez/Pau
Heidi Wood
Image/Imatge (Orthez)
Ecole supérieure des arts et de la communication (Pau)
January 16 - March 7 2009

Heidi Wood questions the dividing up of the world imposed by communication codes. The ensuing fragmentation seeks to examine and explain the message, without ever running the risk of scheming, faltering or even provoking vertigo. For this artist, questioning means revealing greater complexity, varying the angles of approach, activating a slippery, disturbing, yet fertile acuteness and thus expanding the scope of a range of practices and a vocabulary of forms from the urban environment, including signage and a certain coding of modernism, somewhere between common usage and unexpected shifts.

In Orthez, the exhibition focuses on Mount Isa, a rich mining town in the northwest of the state of Queensland in Australia. The town is characterized by a vast, featureless urban sprawl that has developed around a prosperous industry. Heidi Wood associates each of her photographs of a banal, abrupt house, (between ultramarine sky and red ochre ground) with a collage made of home decorator adhesive that describes the rudimentary, sharp silhouette of mining buildings; she presents these duos in a wall painting inspired by this particular functional geometry. The pairing of images is done efficiently. It skillfully underlines their difference all the better to accentuate the peculiarity of their coexistence. To apprehend them in their full antinomy and the violence of their proximity, the juxtaposition shows both the combinations offered by the ambiguity and the possibilities of an alternative in a successive and discontinuous manifestation of lightness and heaviness, rigor and drifting, brutal obviousness and conciliatory atmospheric phenomena.

In Pau, Heidi Wood explores the visual identity of architects Beckmann and N'Thépé to extract three abstract forms presented in three colors in a large-scale wall painting. The extreme desire for hard edges and clarity leads to a sort of turnaround, with a vigorous indetermination that opens onto a positive game of loss and reconstruction, anchoring and instability.

Heidi Wood seems constantly motivated by a need for confrontations and articulations between figuration and abstraction, fragments of reality and principles of representation, signage requirements and decorative recurrence, and by a need to actively adjust to produce a coherent plurality of images that refer to and mutually stimulate one another. They combine, without converging, in a single energy.

Translated from French

In Galerie Anne Barrault, in Paris, from October 18 to December 20, Heidi Wood presented an exhibition with a weekly turnover of installations.