Night Gallery is proud to announce Naked, a solo exhibition of new work by the Chicago-based artist Paul Heyer. This is Heyer’s fifth solo exhibition at Night Gallery.
Heyer’s new body of work explores the spectacle of nature beyond human comprehension—elemental joys of the everyday. Iridescent apples, a once common motif, have shape-shifted into glowing persimmons, each appearing to hold a world within their thin blue membrane. The fruits hint at the infinite found in every object or being, dissolving the difference between self and the swirling microcosms embedded in everything around us.
Soft blue twinkles also appear behind the chance meeting of a skeleton and turtle in Turtle in Purple Grass. The radiant backdrop appears to extend forever, the world seemingly paused while the two opposing figures gaze at each other. The painting’s sumptuous colors mimic orbs of light streaking by dilated eyes on the dance floor, blurring street lights in the dim of dusk, or light seen through tightly closed eyelids.
The remaining skeleton figures in the exhibition are partially obscured by trees, forcing the audience into the position of a voyeur. Stripped bare, the skeletons perform their role as human at a primitive level—captivated by the cascading leaves of a Weeping Willow or transfixed by the lick of a flame. Unaware of our gaze, they are immersed in their act of looking, caught in a moment of awe.
Like the hypnotizing quality of fire, the orange swirls and untamed blotches of black in Sunflowers seduce the viewer into a mesmerized state. Heyer’s heavy-headed flowers gaze down on the audience like oracles against a dystopian blaze. Along with the other paintings in Naked, Sunflowers complicates the relationship between viewer and subject, reminding us that the act of looking can be an electric game of give and take.
Paul Heyer (b. 1982, Chicago, IL) has had solo exhibitions at Chapter NY, New York, NY; Mickey, Chicago, IL; and Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. His solo exhibition Chicago Works: Paul Heyer was on view in the spring of 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, where he has participated in multiple group shows. Other recent group shows include Chapter NY, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Perrotin Gallery, New York; MX Gallery, New York; Galería Agustina Ferreyra, Mexico City, MX; Park View Gallery, Los Angeles; HOME, Manchester, UK; and What Pipeline, Detroit, MI. His work belongs in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN. His work has been written about in Art Agenda, Artforum, the New York Times, and FlashArt, among others. He lives and works in Chicago.