Catherine Heard, Myrllen: A Portrait, 2016. Fabric, embroidery, mixed media, and projected animation, dimensions variable.

Catherine Heard

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Art Gallery of Hamilton

Catherine Heard’s sculptures are disturbing and ethereal, revealing the restraints of corporeal being as well as the intangibles of the soul/creativity. Myrllen: A Portrait, for instance, has indistinct, rounded features akin to Pompeian remains—empty eye sockets and vague features. The graygreen head was created from hundreds of thin layers of linen, lace, paper, clay, and wax. The only external evidence of this laborious process is a rough, compressed texture; a fabric mandala is pressed into its crown. Projected on the wall behind the portrait, which rests sideways on a spotlighted plinth in a darkened room, a series of mono chromatic tones endlessly repeat individual layers of the head’s “architecture.” This film, with its silent parade of ghostly images, was created when the head was CT scanned, using the appropriately named Osirix software. Individual layers of materials dissolve, morph, and reappear in eerie flashes, as Heard seemingly captures the consciousness and memories of the real-life Myrllen, who was institutionalized in Tennessee in 1948…see the entire review in the print version of November’s Sculpture magazine.