1002 Metropolitan Avenue
January 29 - March 12
Of all the deadly human sins, envy is perhaps the most unavoidable. It makes us mourn the things we never had in the first place while reminding us of what we have to lose. In “A Jealous Person,” Andrea Joyce Heimer’s new exhibition, the artist has made narrative, quilt-like paintings that yearn for some sense of firm identity. Her complex renderings of flattened domestic interiors and natural landscapes are psychological minidramas. And their titles, though verbose, are deeply personal.
I Am Jealous Of Those Who Can See Their Own Facial Features Echoing Down Their Family Lines Like A Voice Telling Them Just Where They’ve Been. (all works cited, 2016), is likely related to the artist’s disquietude reflecting on her adoptive family. It depicts a neat row of pale, similarly featured figures in a room, acting in tandem as they get ready for a meal. Standing apart from them amid some tall plants is a dark-skinned woman; opposite her is a portrait of a black swan: A pair of beautiful creatures, linked by their otherness, are alienated from all the rest. I Am Jealous Of Everyone You Have Ever Been With And There Have Been Many, And Then I Find Out Some Of Them Were Squirters And I Am Undone By This Knowledge. It Weighs On Me Like A Stone. depicts dozens of nude women seeping bodily fluids, swimming around a single eroticized male. It’s relatable—who hasn’t fretted imagining a lover’s previous exploits?
Heimer is primarily self-taught, and her pictures occupy a folksy realm: Volumes of visual information are packed into satisfying, epic stories. The carefully applied ornamentation of her works may at first strike one as surreal. But her allegories speak to a very common kind of pathos—we are indeed mostly jealous people.