ARTIST STATEMENT

JEAN and TOM HEFFERNAN

Our work is about duality--the fact that most things (concrete or abstract) have two contradictory components, both of which are true.

Through our choice of materials, our manipulation of them and in our conceptual presentation, our work is: 

About the natural world and industry: Few things are more natural than metal--it is elemental. Yet, it has been mined and forged by enormous force and intense fire. Then, we hammer, bent and grind it until it conforms to our will.

Ancient and Contemporary: We weave sheets of metal into a checkerboard pattern. It has a modern, upbeat vibe but it is no different than patterns that were extraordinarily popular in ancient Egypt or those found in most prehistoric societies.

About self-absorption and self-consciousness: We incorporate mirrors in virtually all of our work. Viewers look at themselves, from afar and then closer. They engage with their appearance. At times, they are absorbed in an exploration of themselves.

Yet, at the exact same time, a duality occurs. Tor Norretranders, the esteemed Danish science writer and thinker, believes that " the most influential invention of the past 2000 years has been the mirror: It has shown to each person how she or he appears to other persons on the planet...This made possible the modern version of self-consciousness: Viewing oneself through the eyes of others..."

About the individual and the whole: Likewise, the viewer is aware of their individuality and the fact that they are a small, small part of the greater whole.

About aesthetics and functionality. We live in the American Southwest--an intense, beautiful region awash in geometric forms, beacons of color and lavash sunlight. Our work reflects this:  mottled strips are an embodiment of the lichen that is seen everywhere--a living graffiti splashed across rocks that have not been moved in centuries, and  smooth colored strips representing dessert birds, flowers and distant cliffs. The portion around the mirror is inspired by the ever present dazzling sun. And, the mirror itself, while acting just like a mirror, also spreads available sunlight everywhere.

About the nature of art:  Art is a physical, intellectual and emotional endeavor; the work is infused with the essence of the artist. In that way, the artist is always with the viewer.