Valerie Hegarty - Under the Influence London Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Museum 52, London
    Private Collection, London

  • Exhibited

    London, Museum 52, View From Thanatopsis, 12 April -12 May 2007

  • Catalogue Essay

    "The painting is more factual now that it doesn't just depict an experience, but instead, actually goes through an experience." Valerie Hegarty

    Valerie Hegarty creates an ethos of impermanence and alteration, embodying a recreation of historical memory through a series of energetic transformations. She juxtaposes past and current American socio-political strata by fabricating and mutating objects that have a particular historical reference. Executed in 2007, Bierstadt with Holes is a prime example of Hegarty's technique of regeneration through ruination – she reproduces iconic American paintings by, in this instance, the German-American visionary landscape painter Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), only to transform them by falsifying their destruction.

    Using foam-core, paper and wood, Hegarty manifests future artefacts of history, mutated survivors of fictional, natural disasters. In Bierstadt with Holes, pieces of Bierstadt's romanticised frontier landscape have fallen to the floor, the image of the sublime having succumbed to the destructive forces of nature. The disintegrated painting appears to be riddled with holes from machine gun fire, whereas in fact the true culprit of the damage is a woodpecker.

    Hegarty's composition is inspired by metamorphosis and conflict between culture and nature, with the transformational aspect of her work opening up a new dimension of possible retaliation: "as if nature had rearranged or tweaked the painting to be a more accurate reflection of the current situation in the world, whereas the original painting was a more idealized version" (Valerie Hegarty, quoted in Museo Magazine, 2008). As with her other works, Bierstadt with Holes encapsulates the corruption of American aesthetic and historical myths.


Bierstadt with Holes

Foam Core, color offset print, paint, glue, gel medium, saw dust, Plexiglas,
wall piece: 103 x 85 x 7 cm (40 1/2 x 33 1/2 x 2 3/4 in); installation dimensions variable

£12,000 - 18,000 

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Under the Influence

11 April 2013