Breakthrough Miami is a site-specific installation that expands on Hegarty's previous projects where she adheres layers of painted paper to the walls and floor only to peel them back in a technique she has described as "reverse archeology". Using paper-mache, photography and trompe l'oeil painting techniques, Hegarty creates the impression that the gallery walls have been stripped back to reveal an old Miami building interior.
Illusionary holes in the space create fabricated portals to the exterior environment where wildlife seems to be creeping in along with new views to the Miami shoreline. The work shares a visual affinity to the work of Gordon Matta-Clark, who famously removed sections of floors, ceilings, and walls in abandoned buildings. Instead of the heroic gesture of actually breaking through the architecture with a saw and sledge hammer, Hegarty humorously alludes to the physicality of this process through employing fragile materials such as foamcore, paper, paint and glue. The gallery is transformed into a quasi- abandoned space, but is in effect a deconstructed still-life painting.
Informed by the current turbulent state of our country while also excavating from America's past, Hegarty often turns the gallery into a dramatic place of change. Often informed by the existing architecture and collaging onto the original structure, Hegarty creates the illusion of an environment under transition or altogether forgotten. Hegarty collapses exterior and interior space with the finesse of the artist's hand and calls into question the stability of the institution. The viewer is left to ponder the gallery's altered interior and the veracity of the transformation.
About the artist
Valerie Hegarty studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. Hegarty is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including a 2010 Pollock Krasner award and a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture. She was recently awarded a residency at the Triangle Arts Association in New York for 2010-11. The artist's work is currently on view as part of a public art commission on the High Line, NY and at Portugal Arte 10 in Lisbon. Recent exhibitions include Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NY; Marlborough Gallery, NY; Kings County Biennial, NY; and New York Minute, at the Depart Foundation, Rome, Italy. Hegarty is represented by Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in New York and Museum 52 in London.
This exhibition is made possible with the support from: Andy Warhol Foundation; Galt & Skye Mikesell; Hannibal Cox Jr. Foundation; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor, and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners. Special thanks to Jonathan Eismann Restaurants.
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