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November 14, 2013

Local artist draws inspiration from life, motion


“It’s dance and the figure that are really really interesting to me,” said Heller, who says she gets a lot of inspiration from dancers. “I try to combine energetic figures with figures who are more ambiguous.”

In addition to the mural she painted at Roanoke, “Life/Body/Action/Time” included work from Heller’s exhibitions “Lives of Children,” “The Anatomy of Time,” and “In Our Name: Iraqi Children in War.”

Heller also taught two days of drawing classes, co-taught a poetry class, and did power point presentations on her work at a number of other different classes.

“I really wanted to be available for classes,” said Heller, who said that she would tell interested students about the different issues she was having with her work and then get feedback from them.

“There’s a performative and improvisational aspect to my work,” said Heller

Heller said that this environment was a great transition away from the generally solitary nature of her work as an artist. She also said that she appreciated not having to worry about cooking or shopping, and that the school food was very good.

“All I did was work. It was like a dream,” said Heller.

The mural at Roanoke College is the fourth mural Heller has painted this year. She began painting murals in January 2012, and says that she appreciates the impermanence of the form, as her work is painted over after an exhibition is finished.

Said Heller, “I like the fact that I’m not dragging my work around.”

Heller said that she is looking for a public art commission, however, which would leave a mural of hers in place permanently.

Heller has been working as a professional artist since the early 1980’s. Heller has her MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, but received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from SUNY Buffalo.

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