MUSEUM STUDIES:

THE ARTWORK OF RICHARD HEIPP

 

VISIBLE ANATOMY (2009-2014)

As an art teacher, Heipp contends that one of his “primary jobs it is to teach students how to see.” Heipp is “infatuated with the way we ‘see,’ and the manner in which contemporary culture consumes images both visually and literally.” He asserts that “there is an important difference between superficially looking, the way we digest most images, and seeing a more profound vision that includes a closer reading and contextual understanding. Mechanical reproduction has forever affected and subverted the way we view and consume images and ultimately how we then see ourselves.” Heipp has categorized the methods with which we view and capture images in three distinctly different ways that represent both analog and digital image capture. The categories are as follows:


1. The ocular: the binocular human eyes connected to the brain

2. The glass lens: the monocular camera lens and recording media

3. The computer scanner: a method of recording mages directly without a lens.


To create the source images for this series Heipp constructed reverse still lives directly onto a flatbed scanner. His inventory of objects includes various prosthetic eyes or real looking eyes that are impotent and can never actually see. The eyes are combined with a variety of plastic anatomical models, a surrogate of the body that is then layered with reproductions of 19th century documents of the body. In the painting titled Visible Anatomy- Plastic Media Still Life (2011), Heipp augmented the scanned still life with external illumination that shifts the color balance and enhances the reflections reinforcing the unique moving light of the flat-bed scanner. This produces a rich, highly detailed image that completely bypasses any traditional lens and results in an image that is unique to this scanning process.  Each painting is then layered with a red line diagrammatic structure reminding us that we are always looking through some type of viewing system to see any image.