Colleen Heslin’s exhibition Somatic Traditions brings together a selection of new fiber-based painting and sculpture work. These abstract assemblage works present an astute study of surface, colour, form, and the junction of traditional and non-traditional materials. Structural modes of fiber are relied on—its absorption, expansion, malleability, integrity, and ability to conceal and reveal, while a variety of pigment sources are employed.
Heslin’s new canvas and linen paintings are subdued and monochromatic with moments of contrast. Slight uneven surface texture interrupts the fundamental flatness of form; as with her earlier paintings, these works are composed from dyed and sewn fabrics, stretched on traditional painting frames.
Sculptural works share an intrinsic dialogue with Heslin’s paintings, highlighting similarities in materials and processes. Fabric dipped into plaster echoes fabric dipped into dye; colours and texture reverberate across mediums. Working with material excess, abstract forms are bent, wrapped, fused and tangled. Through implied figuration and placement, interdependent relationships form supporting each other, leaning and balancing, articulating difference and connections throughout the installation.