What a pleasure it has been to get to know local artist Shelley Heffler who has some significant exhibitions coming up this year. I recently visited Shelley in her Inglewood Studio and was intrigued by her compelling abstract paintings and sculptural canvases.
Shelley Heffler was born and raised in the Bronx. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York where she studied interior design, followed by a Bachelor’s Degree in Art. She graduated from Cal State Northridge with a Master’s degree in fine art followed by a teaching credential. She traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia photographing the lives of fascinating people. On returning from her travels, she settled in Los Angeles where she taught ceramics and fine art. She taught fine arts at L.A. Unified for over 25 years. Additionally, she was an adjunct professor at Otis College of Art and Design, a Nationally Board Certified Professional Educator, and a mentor teacher. Her exhibition history includes the Los Angeles County Museum of Art rental gallery, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and group shows throughout the United States. Her work has been reviewed in the British magazine Hedge, Los Angeles Times, LA Independent, Daily News, San Diego Tribune and San Diego Art Review. She was nominated for the Awards for the Visual arts, and received a Fellowship from Funds for Teachers. Her paintings and photographs are in the collections of many collectors across the United States. She has recently been identified as “One to Watch” on Saatchi On Line, and featured in “Art Pins”. Now retired from teaching, she is solely dedicated to her art practice in her studio located at Beacon Arts in Inglewood, California.
Heffler’s flourishing art practice is informed by a passion for maps which began as a young girl navigating the subways of NYC. Always viewing the world with wonder, she created an internal dialogue of her thoughts and feelings which made their way to an artistic voice. Primarily a painter who continues to be inspired by cartography as well as digital imagery from NASA, topography, and a deep concern for the interconnectedness of the world in terms of human values and experiences. Often, using a thick application of acrylic paint she covers her canvases with gestural brushwork creating richly layered surfaces that conceal and reveal the underlying the plasticity of the paint., Heffler morphs some of her canvases into sculptural forms creating a truly topographical surface. Many of her works are anthropocenic and focus on the shifting boundaries of land. In her words, “I create hybrid paintings confronting the unsettling engagement of human alterations to land and earth. I am inspired by science and ecological systems that represents an interconnectedness in the world we share.”
There is a lot more to come for this energetic painter as she continues to develop new processes to passionately communicate all that inspires her. Enjoy this sampling of her work below.