Heller’s newest works focus on Greater New York. Her skyscraping vision of the city is like a turbulent map of emotionally charged memories. A restless painterly energy invites the viewer into a psychic world that reproduces The City as the center of daily life. Art critic Eric Gelber observes,
She captures the energy of the roving gaze, the feeling we experience as our gaze travels great distances and traces forms, as if our eyes were drawing implements… Her expressive lines compress, elongate and blend actual spaces that are transformed by her imagination.
Hard Rain (oil on canvas, 90×78”), based on drawings the artist made while traveling in New Jersey looking back over the marshlands to distant Manhattan, creates a sense of anxiousness and flight through its vertiginous movements. Heller’s paintings are a direct response to her observations of ordinary urban spaces and their ability to possess an unsettling and violent mood. She asks, “Isn’t it eerie how an every day city view can suddenly turn sad or ominous?” Intentionally heavy and hard to look at, the viewer is none-the-less drawn in to its beautiful gloom.
The title, Hard Rain, echoes the imminence of troubled times. Wet and almost dripping, the densely packed paint portrays a state of flux. Heller uses browns, yellows, gray, purples and blues; the paint is nasty, harsh and jagged in color and marks. The rain is like lightening spears, drips and solid masses. There are sharp lines of wire/rain/tracks coming from the sky. This captures the ideas behind this painting and the subject of this body of work.