UOW's Kendal Heyes' landscape creation

Artist Kendal Heyes used plaster and a plastic table to create his latest body of work.  Picture: ROBERT PEET
Artist Kendal Heyes used plaster and a plastic table to create his latest body of work. Picture: ROBERT PEET

They look like a series of NASA photographs from space, looking down on the terrain of various planets scattered throughout the universe.

Some have mountain peaks, while others swirl and snake in what seem like rivers and lakes.

But there's nothing alien about them. Artist Kendal Heyes created his latest series using wet plaster, a small wooden frame and hessian being pulled up from a plastic table.

For six months he poured and pulled until he had enough works he finally found appealing.

Heyes describes himself as an experimental artist, moving between a variety of mediums including printmaking, photography, drawing and painting.

In Australia he is more known for his photography and is a lecturer in the subject at the University of Wollongong. In the United Kingdom he is thought of as a printmaker, while in New Zealand he is a painter.

The wide range of his art work, he says, saves him from becoming bored.

For his next project, due later in the year at the same gallery, Heyes will turn his hand to iPhone and pinhole photography.

In his current show, titled Details: Painting after Photography, Heyes explores the way we look at paintings since the advent of photography.

"It's about how photographs have changed, enhanced and undermined traditional ways of seeing painting," says Heyes. "Once you have the idea that a small brush stroke can actually be part of a bigger picture you get the idea of abstraction, which has that paradoxical edge. That the work could actually be part of a bigger thing that is representational."

But he adds his art is foremost about creating visual objects.

"I could have whatever idea I liked when I make them," he says. "But if I didn't end up with objects that I found seductive or appealing in some way I wouldn't have got anywhere."

Heyes then uses layers of mica-based pigments to add colour, texture and a metallic edge, creating opalescent surfaces which shift in colour according to the light.

"They are low-tech interactive works in that they change as you move around them," he says.

"They are meant to be fun."

Heyes moved to Sydney from New Zealand in 1979 and has lived in the Illawarra for five years.

He has photographic and printmaking works in the National Gallery in Canberra, the NSW Art Gallery has a set of drawings, while the Art Gallery of South Australia also has a collection of his photographs.

His work is currently also on display in Melbourne at the Stephen McLaughlan Gallery.

A series of large, abstract, geometrical pieces shows there until June 14.

The exhibition at The Hanging Space Art Gallery, located behind Manic Organic at Woonona, is on until June 28.


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