Shelly Hehenberger

Artist Statement  


My work is a meditation on the patterns of nature explored through the process of drawing and painting. This patterning and imagery suggest the natural world and its state of constant change, especially within the realm of growing things. I am particularly interested in growth and change on a microscopic and subatomic level.

Examples of my way of working include layering lines and textures, masking them out with transparent veils of medium, or pulling out forms by scraping deep into the layers. This continuous layering of the materials reflects a sense of the deconstructive (chaos) and constructive (cosmos) energies that exists at all levels of nature, revealing an essential balance of the creative tension that exists between the two.

Wherever I experience the variations of nature and its processes, I pay close attention to the diversity and complexity of the forms and structures. Every possibility exists here, yet new ones are constantly emerging in the ever-changing combinations of the simplest of elements. Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen...

I strive to make my own process about this same kind of discovery, stretching to encompass every potential of what I can do with the medium. Paint, wax, sand, chalk, earth, wood, graphite, ink. The combinations seem endless, and I find it exciting to think that perhaps there is no limit but only a continuous pushing outward into a new array of possibility.

Paul Klee said “The true artist does not work from nature, but like her and in her.”

In the same way, I let my way of working be like the nature that inspires me. I savor the journey of making as an end in itself, and in the process come to know myself better through gaining a deeper understanding of the natural world of which I am an inseparable part.