BUIA Gallery is pleased to present Open Relationship, the debut New York solo exhibition of artist Daniel Heidkamp. In varyingly sized works on canvas, Heidkamp delves into a dynamic and quirky investigation of the sometimes confusing, sometimes hilarious, sometimes beautiful headspace of people in various stages of romantic relationships. His subjects, ranging from a single woman on a Brooklyn street, to neurotic engaged couples, to an anxious wedding party, all the way to nudists in the park, are all people looking for love. What Heidkamp reveals is the nature of the quest where the line between love and uncertainty is tenuous, elated moments can become uncomfortable ones, awkward moments can be beautiful, and solitude can be just a step away from heaven.
In reference to the exhibition, Heidkamp introduces four possible interpretations of the phrase ‘open relationship’: First, in the most common sense, an “open relationship” is one in which the participants are free to take on other partners. A second definition of an “open relationship” would be a romantic union where the participants have a completely open and honest discourse of ideas and feelings. In this exhibition, however, the term extends to describe yet another interpretation- Heidkamp’s, the artist’s, open relationship, stylistically and thematically, with respect to painting itself with closer examination of his work revealing a range of aesthetic variations wherein abstract passages collide with versions of realism, all held together by touch, palette, and sensibility. Finally, in a fourth sense, by attaching the term ‘open relationship’ to a painting show where viewers will consider the relationship between various elements within the paintings, as well among the paintings as a group, Heidkamp suggests that these interpretations must be open-ended.
In Naked Picnic, Heidkamp creates a direct reference to Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (Breakfast [Luncheon] on the Grass) by using himself and three friends as subjects during an outing to Harriman State Park, NY. This painting, perhaps more than any other encapsulates the idea of the exhibition- an investigation into relationships and relationship dynamics with an emphasis on literal naked honesty and a great deal of stylistic variation. Here Heidkamp’s wry acknowledgment of a 19th century Impressionist motif interplays with a contemporary hyper-color palette and frenetic anxiety laden brushwork. And here, as in every painting in the show, the figures, their facial expressions, and body renderings exist precariously on the tipping point between the naturalistic and the bizarre.
Daniel Heidkamp is a graduate of the Museum School in Boston. Recent shows include the group exhibition, Ambivalent Figuration; People, at Samson Projects in Boston this past summer and Careful Heidkamp, a solo exhibition at Arts Tropical Gallery in Brooklyn. Heidkamp’s inclusion in the 2007 group show, Almost Paradise, at LaMontagne Gallery in Boston was reviewed in The Boston Globe and The Boston Phoenix. We are pleased to announce this, the artist’s debut Chelsea solo exhibition.