J.J. L’Heureux does it all…painting, photography, collage. This Saturday March 22nd, paintings from L’Heureux’s Bergy Bit series will be part of a group show titled “Spectrum-Gestalt.”
Presented by bG Gallery, the group show will be held at its new space in Bergamot Station Arts Center. The Bergy Bit Series are abstract paintings inspired by the vast ice fields she has encountered on many of her trips to Antarctica. I had the chance to interview this talented artist.
What inspired you to do the Bergy Bit Series?
We are all familiar with the idea of glaciers, icebergs, snow fields, and hundred of other words descriptive of snow and ice. I traveled to Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia moving from one glacier to the next where they spill out into the Beagle Channel to see the colors of ice. Leaving these ice fields I knew this would become the focus of my next painting series. I continued to Antarctica where the ice came alive to me in ways that transcended its coldness and vastness.
Q: When did you fist start creating them?
A: 2000 after returning from my first expedition to Antarctica where I have return most seasons for 13 expeditions.
Q: You work in several mediums…photography, Bergy Bits, Etichette, Do you tend to complete one first, then move to the next?
A: I go back and forth between them. The Bergy Bit Series takes some time to dry as I like the texture of oil paint.
Q: Can you tell me about your recent expedition?
A: I recently returned from revisiting the historic huts in the Ross Sea. This was my 3rd expedition visiting the huts of Shackleton and Scott in the Ross Sea where I had the opportunity to photograph them. The only light is from a few small windows and each visit enables me to fine tune my thoughts and images. I am always pleased to see wildlife in Antarctica with the albatrosses, orcas families, whales and many species of penguins.
Q: How often do you work on the Bergy Bit Series?
A: Not as often as I would like. Each expedition to Antarctica takes about 6 weeks. Upon returning to my studio I have much to catch up with. With a number of one person exhibitions this year each with reception and talks I have a full schedule for the next 2 years.
Q: Where have your Bergy Bits been shown?
A: “Ice-Thetics: Paintings Inspired by the Ice Fields of Antarctica” at the San Luis Obispo Art Center, California.
Q: Do you have set hours to paint each day/or week?
A: I work everyday. Some days the office work of writing letters, sending images, packing boxes, shipping, getting pieces to the framer and responding to e-mail is all I can think about but once a piece is started I return to painting as often as I can.
Q: Do you find daily circumstance affect the work?
A: Only studio guests when spending the night. I have many “bi-polar” researchers and enjoy showing my warm neighborhood when they travel between the southern and northern polar-regions.
Q: Does your inspiration change with each trip?
A: I would not say my inspiration but my understanding as I experience more of Antarctica with each expedition. With weather making each expedition completely different and every week in polar-regions the wildlife changes as the chicks, pups must mature incredible fast. The ice shelves, glaciers, tongues and bergs are exciting.
Q: What is the # 1 thing that you propels you to paint?
A: I am an artist. From gessoing, mixing a color, making the first brush stroke to deciding the piece is finished. Series evolve, materials change - I am content when in my studio painting.
Enjoy the paintings of .J..J. L’Heureux in a group show titled “Spectrum-Gestalt” opening this Saturday, March 22nd from 6:00 pm -10:00 pm at bG Gallery, at Bergamot Station, (G8A) 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, 90404. The exhibit will remain on view through April 8. (310) 906 4211; http://www.bGartGalleries.com