My supervisor at RMIT, Sally, pointed me in the direction of Louise Hearman, knowing my fascination for the real, surreal, macabre, fantasy direction of my work, she obviously thought Hearman would resonate and she was so right!
Born in 1963, Hearman grew up in Melbourne and has been painting and drawing since she was young. Attending VCA to complete her Bachelor degree, she has just gone from strength to strength with her career.
Her painting of Barry Humphries won her the coveted Archibald Prize in 2016. Like many of her paintings this one of Humphries captures a wonderful likeness of the man in Hearman’s light, appearing out of the dark background. Her way with light and darkness to me is a signature of her work.
Hearman has a way with story telling through images. Taking photos through her life journey and using them as a slightly warped lens she creates beautiful paintings. Artwork that documents her life but also juxtaposing a dreamlike sense of reality. Its dark, gothic, erotic, surrealism got me from the first viewing. Hearman’s practice almost parallels mine to a degree as she delves into the darkness of our psyche – which is exactly what I am aiming for – bringing it to life.
Haunting images of endless roads, girls floating in ice covered lakes that eerily meet your gaze. She doesn’t title her works and let’s the viewer decide how they feel about the pieces, refusing to dictate or label her art leaving the audience open to interpret her paintings through their own lens.
I can learn much from Hearman and how she presents her work. I always felt the need to have the whole canvas covered – a complete painting – but I’m learning I don’t have to be so pedantic. My artwork can stop when I see fit. Faces are my true passion and I can spend hours, days, weeks trying to get a face to where I’m happy with what I’m trying to say as well as it looking like my subject. Some of Hearman’s heads seem to float and I just keep returning to look at them.
Even her painting of the road the disappears into the darkness makes me want to follow it to see where it goes even if it’s no where. A truly talented artist who is very deserving of her accolades.
We have much in common, Hearman and I, as she is only 2 years older than me, we have both grown up in Melbourne and started creating in our youth but unlike Hearman, I chose the life of children and family over my artistic pursuits. Now it’s my turn to shine and if I can shine as bright as this talented artist I’ll be extremely happy!