Born in Burlington, Vermont, USA in 1967 Valerie Hegarty now lives in New York. Her idea of art and artistry shares something of the old style mixed with a nihilistic flare.
Hegarty enjoys creating works inspired by monolithic American old time culture, then irreverently destroying them in which ever manner she sees fit. Some might say spending hours and days on a piece of work before ruining it is a touch mental. But I suppose if you prefer the way it looks after you’ve “destroyed” it, then you haven’t destroyed it at all, it’s just the last bit of the process before you achieve what you were looking for.
Hegarty theatrically reconstructs ‘masterpieces’ based on classical works from flimsy materials like foam-core, paper, and wood, before falsifying their ruination. Here’s Rothkon getting the Hegarty treatment:
In the early days Hegarty would plan her art’s downfall meticulously but over recent years she has allowed serendipity to unfurl. She might leave seeds within the works to germinate, or leave them open to the elements. So she makes her art, breaks her art and then sees what happens next. She enjoys the idea that history is being created on historical paintings.
As any regular readers of lazerhorse.org knows, I’m no art critic, so the important point for me when looking at people’s work is whether I like looking at it; and with Hegarty’s stuff I certainly do.
She’s exhibited all across the states, in Sweden and Japan and has been featured in publications from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal. She’s volunteered at a children’s hospital, teaches at Brooklyn School of Art and sits on the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Artist Advisory Board among many other roles. She’s been a busy girl.
I’ll leave the last word with Hegarty, taken from an interview in 2008 by museomagazine:
“…there’s this aspect of frozen animation—catching something as it’s changing. The fragments are starting to transform but haven’t yet completely. It’s an exciting thing to experiment with—this pivotal moment when things are changing and becoming and hopefully moving forward.”
Yeah. What she said.