Valerie Hegarty: Slash & Burn Art

On January 5, 2014 by Tim Newman

Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - niagra Falls

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.

Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - unk Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - unk 2

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:

Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - Rothko-Sunset-2007-detail

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.

Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - web Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - view-from-thanatopsis

As any regular readers of 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.

Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - unearthed Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - the riuons

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.

Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - Autumn on the Hudson Valley with Branches 2009

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.

Valerie Hegarty - destructive art - cracked_canyon

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