Photographer Patrick Heagney is currently exhibiting two bodies of work at the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery: “Memoria Technica” and “Paper Thin.”
His prints from “Memoria Technica,” which was originally shown at Eyedrum Gallery a few years ago, have now grown in size. Five pieces from this series are displayed. With slightly muted colors and an overall blur, these images feel a little sad, but are also strangely comforting.
Heagney says about his inspiration for the series:
It came mostly from collecting old photographs from flea markets. I would look at all these amazing images that were somebody’s family snapshots from 50-80 years ago and get this weird kind of vicarious nostalgia from them. So I wanted to explore the idea of memory and nostalgia and how generally non-specific and vague they are by creating these false ‘memories’ and snapshots from a past that never existed.
“Paper Thin,” the artist’s newest series, is also on display. They are part sculpture, illustrated story, and photograph. These images also evoke a saddened disposition like “Technica,” but with less comfort. The subjects are left isolated in a wilderness of paper constructions. They are sophisticated in fabrication, but with a strong reminder of childhood and innocence. They remind me of a film still from an animated children’s story.
The artist’s inspiration stems from a slightly different avenue, however. He says:
I was interested in the idea that reality is subjective and my reality might not be the same as yours, which is not the same as the next person and so on. All the characters in this series have just had some kind of revelation where they’ve realized that things are not how they thought they were, and they have to reanalyze and restructure their worldview, their concept of what’s ‘real’ because their old model doesn’t work anymore. The series was largely inspired by a bunch of scientific discoveries that show that reality is only created, in fact only exists, when we observe it. We essentially create it as we go, so everything that we think of as ‘real’ isn’t as substantial as once thought.
In addition to the two series, Heagney exhibits four other images that are considerably different from the others. Bright, shiny, and fun, they are a short walk on the wild side. Presented in large white baroque frames, these images feel more like eye candy than a novel tugging at your brain. It’s a nice vacation from the feelings and thoughts experienced in “Memoria Technica” and “Paper Thin.”
Patrick Heagney has a wonderful sense of color and composition, and does well at conveying his messages. He has some fresh ideas and concepts, and the final output is quite breathtaking.
Exhibition continues at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery through Jan. 15 with an artist talk Thur. Jan. 8, 6PM.