THE PARALLEL SERIES

ANALOGUE ELECTRONIC PAINTINGS, 2012

KELLY HEATON [US]

 

Kelly Heaton’s images literally come to life with the pulsing, 
chirping, and breathing of the natural world that surrounds 
her in rural Virginia: a simmering fire, a rainy spring 
forest, insects on a summer night, a beating heart, the 
cry of a lonesome bird. None of the effects are recordings. 
The sounds of crickets, cicada, and birds are electrical 
phenomena crafted by Heaton. Analogue electronic circuits, 
designed by Heaton to generate this audio-visual show, 
adhere to the paintings’ surfaces. The light and sound 
effects are two consequent oscillating circuit design 
elements: one is the analogue astable multivibrator; 
and the other is the popular 555 timer chip. Heaton’s 
subtle modification of oscillating waveforms creates a 
strikingly realistic and wide variety of natural effects.
When the paintings are “turned off,” their dormant 
surfaces continue to sparkle with shiny plastic parts, 
the glint of lead solder, and the lively interplay of 
seemingly infinite, miniature electronic components: 
resistors, capacitors, and transistors; transformers, 
sensors, and timers; and yards of wires on spools. As 
with any technology, the electronic components in these 
artworks are not engineered to work forever, inviting 
a comparison to the impermanent sand mandalas of 
Tibetan Buddhism. Through the intersection of nature, 
energy, and spirituality, Heaton asks what does one 
gain when a painting is imbued with electronics, and 
what does one lose when the electricity is gone?

Kelly Heaton’s images literally come to life with the pulsing, chirping, and breathing of the natural world that surrounds her in rural Virginia: a simmering fire, a rainy spring forest, insects on a summer night, a beating heart, the cry of a lonesome bird. None of the effects are recordings. The sounds of crickets, cicada, and birds are electrical phenomena crafted by Heaton. Analogue electronic circuits, designed by Heaton to generate this audio-visual show, adhere to the paintings’ surfaces. The light and sound effects are two consequent oscillating circuit design elements: one is the analogue astable multivibrator; and the other is the popular 555 timer chip. Heaton’s subtle modification of oscillating waveforms creates a strikingly realistic and wide variety of natural effects.When the paintings are “turned off,” their dormant surfaces continue to sparkle with shiny plastic parts, the glint of lead solder, and the lively interplay of seemingly infinite, miniature electronic components: resistors, capacitors, and transistors; transformers, sensors, and timers; and yards of wires on spools. As with any technology, the electronic components in these artworks are not engineered to work forever, inviting a comparison to the impermanent sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism. Through the intersection of nature, energy, and spirituality, Heaton asks what does one gain when a painting is imbued with electronics, and what does one lose when the electricity is gone?

 

THE PARALLEL SERIES

About the artist: 

Trained in art and science, Kelly Heaton received her Bachelor of Art from Yale University in 1994, her Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000, and was awarded a residency at the Duke University Department of Computer Science in 2002. She is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York, where The Parallel Series premiered in the fall of 2012. Critic Jerry Saltz wrote in New York magazine: “Sculptor, seer, scientist, spiritualist Kelly Heaton allows us to glimpse the ghost in the machine.” The Feldman Gallery exhibited Heaton’s last solo show, Live Pelt in 2003, described by the critic Kim Levin “as conceptually perfect” in The Village Voice. An avid nature lover and gardener, Heaton lives in rural Virginia with her husband and stepchildren.

KELLY HEATON [US]