Annie Heisey's current series of paintings, "Arterial Thread", flit between polished moments of realism and raw areas of brushwork. Her elegant figures inhabit half-realized spaces which begin to disintegrate around them, suggesting the constantly shifting ways in which we view the world around us. Identity is woven from the threads of memories. We are made of the things we have done and the things which have been done to us. Some things we yearn to remember, others we beg to forget. The paintings in Arterial Thread are an exploration of identity through an examination of which memories to hold onto and which to let go.
Heisey’s paintings reflect the idea that our perceptions are colored by our past experiences, limiting our ability to see our world in its entirety with all of its conflicting motives and points of view. As we experience the world, our minds act as a filter where inevitably some information is lost and some is added in forms of bias and preconceived notions. Nostalgia colors our perception of the present and creates places in our mind that have never truly existed. Memories of a "simpler time" often omit the less ideal aspects of the past and ignore progress that has been made, affecting our view of the present on both personal and national levels. Heisey's paintings visually illustrate those nonexistent places, incomplete worlds interrupted by the very brush strokes that have created them. As her brush strokes layer atop one another, they build images that come into focus and then break apart, resulting in a partially realized world that reflects the limitations of human perception.
Heisey is an artist and educator living and working in her native city of Pittsburgh, PA. Best known for her paintings of beautifully rendered figures in abstracted or impossible environments, Heisey’s artwork aims to disrupt the viewer’s experience of a painting as a simulation of the physical world. Since receiving her MFA from Boston University in 2007, Heisey’s artwork has been exhibited nationally in galleries and institutions which include the Boston Center for the Arts, Site:Brooklyn Gallery in Brooklyn NY, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh PA. Her awards include; the Junior Artist Residency at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland OR, a nomination for the Portland Art Museum’s NW Contemporary Art Award, and the 2019 Festival Award at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Her paintings have been included in several catalogs and publications including the Boston Globe.
View images from Annie Heisey's 2020 BoxHeart Exhibit, Arterial Thread.