Revealing The Veiled Through Fabrics
© Heather Martindale: portrait of the artist
"All is mystery; but he is a slave
who will not struggle to
penetrate the dark veil."
-- Benjamin Disraeli
It was thanks to the invitation to participate at the 12th edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair held in Paris, Porte de Versailles, that I got introduced to the mesmerizing work of Heather Martindale, a contemporary painter based in Idaho, United States. Heather Martindale started exploring fabrics in 2012, while preparing for her Bachelor's degree of Fine Arts. The ballet "Lamentation", choreographed by Martha Graham deeply influenced Martindale's work, resulting in drapery paintings in motion, that capture us instantly in a mysterious dancing vortex.
© Heather Martindale: Concealed Torment, oil on canvas, 48in x 36in
Referring to the ballet of Martha Graham is important in understanding the potential of body movements and fabrics in highlighting emotions such as grief. The main inspiration for "Lamentation" actually came from the Old Testament and more specifically from The Book of Lamentations, where the city of Jerusalem is personified as a widow. In Graham's choreography the dancer represents a universal female figure in mourning, which is also dramatized by the jersey cloth that encased the body.
Julia Burrer in "Lamentation", by Martha Graham. Source: https://dance.washington.edu/research/creative-work/lamentation
In Martindale's artistic expression, fabrics, especially soft ones like satin or chiffon, represent the complexities of human emotion. By the use of chiffon, a translucent fabric with the potential of dynamic layering, Martindale's paintings obtain a certain enigmatic effect, with lots of depth. The flowing fabric creates movement, allowing the piece to speak for itself. Her interest in art goes way back to her childhood days. As she evoked during our zoom interview, there was a fascination with drawing, paper dolls, dresses and a unique sense of fashion from an early age. Some would argue, myself included, that Martindale's paintings are highly sensual. The sensual aspect is given by the female model underneath a translucent material-the artist herself, color and lighting. "The most exciting thing that inspires me to paint the image is how the light plays on the surface of the material, creating reflective light and exaggerated colors that wouldn't normally be present." - stated Martindale in her interview for the Visionary Art Collective magazine.
© Heather Martindale: Passionate Virtue, oil on canvas, 48in x 36in
Each of Martindale's paintings results from countless photos that she takes of herself under the fabric. These instant photos with no alternation give amazing results, in terms of lighting. Based on the photo, as a template, Martindale carefully sketches the form on the canvas and fills it with her signature palette: mostly neutrals that are mixed with blacks to enhance shadows and the folds of the fabrics. The element of fabrics is also interesting as a boundary element, separating the "inner" from the "outside", our proper beeing and the outside world. By expressing this dichotomy that is perfectly transmitted by the fabric, Martindale captures our attention, raises questions and provokes our emotional reactions.
© Heather Martindale: Ominous Angel, oil on canvas, 48in x 36in
As from 2021, Heather Martindale is dedicated exclusively to her art, and is represented by the Art Spirit Gallery in Idaho. Her work can be found in many international publications (including: Create! Magazine, Art Seen, Friend of the Artist Book), and private collections of many Bay Area collectors including the permanent collection of the Museum of Northern California Art. She was awarded with the Women United ART PRIZE in the UK, a contemporary art prize aimed at celebrating female artists who work in 2D format across the globe. We wish her great luck at the upcoming Art Fair in Los Angeles.
© Heather Martindale: Heather Martindale with her canvases
More about the artist:
Heather Martindale Studios : https://hmartindale.com
Sources and references:
Visionary Art Collective: Heather Martindale: Texture, Light and Movement. © Copyright 2023, https://www.visionaryartcollective.com/interviews/heather-martindale
Mills Sarah: Paintings of Figurative Fabric Imagery by Heather Martindale, Create magazine: https://www.createmagazine.com/blog/heather-martindale
I am European and I study arts , the goal was to become an art critique. I was fortunate to study with prof. Vatasianu , Herder price winner . As life goes to escape communism I came to America . So I went into business Worled , but I never completely detached from Art . Meeting Heather’s work was amazing , all that passion for Art came back so powerful that I truly believe that only when we come across something exceptional one start celebrating and gets moved . Her work is septdude , sexy and sensuous ,, yet vibrant , specking to many emotions and totally mesmerizing one .
I truly see a fantastic future for her . Congratulations dear Heather .