GINA HEYER: Still
Jul 6 – Jul 23, 2022
Everard Read Cape Town is pleased to present: STILL, a solo exhibition of paintings by Gina Heyer.
The nine years spent completing STILL, Gina Heyer’s third solo show, have been distilled and embedded into these ten paintings. With this photorealistic body of work, Heyer places the viewer alongside herself in the interminable time of empty hospital passages. Brush marks are delicately eased away to create a sense of timelessness, and through her seductively slow layering of paint these utilitarian spaces are transformed into sites for deep contemplation. Like an insect trapped in amber, an instant of light shining on a surface is caught and slowed down to an eternal frame.
“Since beginning the paintings in 2013,” Heyer comments, “I have willingly and reluctantly found myself in hospitals for the complicated birth of two children, operations and two post-operative emergencies that brought me dangerously close to death. I’ve become familiar with the difficulty of reconciling the day-to-day routines with truly life-changing events, something that I feel is reflected in the paintings too.”
Created with the support of the Bright Foundation, the paintings in STILL reflect life caught between acts, with existence hanging in the balance just out of sight in the surgery theatres. The hospital passages are both literal and metaphorical spaces of transition, bracketing our lives from birth to death. While light softly pooling on floors draws the viewer in, the clinical surfaces and battered doors reveal the building’s bruises, pushing us away. Passages are nameless intermediate spaces, urging occupants to move on. But by engaging with these spaces slowed down in paint, the viewer is asked to pause a moment, reflect, and consider the present.
The passages depicted here are devoid of human presence except for a few laundry bags which become convenient stand-ins, seemingly waiting patiently and seeking comfort from each other. They are evidence of living bodies and human touch, and sometimes they contain the very last traces of a life to be washed away, dissolved. We grapple with comprehending loss. In these paintings, though, the laundry bags remain a constant. Precious reminders, they are still here with us.
STILL is a call to find calm and contemplation in our busy lives, acknowledge loss, and find gratitude in our still being here. Although hospitals can seem like sombre subject matter, it is Heyer’s ambition that perhaps a moment of reflection and a little warmth can be infused into these cold spaces.
*Face masks are required and must be worn at all times when visiting the gallery*