Heidi Fowler’s work examines man’s relationship with the environment. Her artwork combines found materials such as junk mail and old file folders with traditional art materials. Her works explore the tension between the beauty of creation and the priorities of man.
My most recent collage-paintings are all constructions within a series I have entitled
‟Detrimorphose.” These works depict the power of brokenness and redemption. Each piece gives new life to that which has been cast aside. I am inspired by the geometric patterns and deep-rooted history of quilts. Within these collages, I explore new ways of utilizing every-day items which are usually discarded.
“The Age of Convenience” has become increasingly inconvenient. There are more kinds of plastics than we can efficiently and safely recycle. From large scale aviation parts to microscopic particles, and everything in between, plastics have saturated the earth—especially watersheds and oceans. And there are health consequences for every living creature.
By repurposing everyday plastics, I hope to bring attention to this issue. I hope to inspire viewers to be more aware of the products they use and buy, as well as to insist on legislation to standardize the chemistry of plastics. A prioritized approach from “essential” to “non-beneficial” is required.
The average life span of a plastic grocery bag is 15 minutes. This ever-used commodity seemed an appropriate medium to represent the problem. These bags end up being swallowed by birds trying to feed their babies and are mistaken for jellyfish by sea turtles. They are magnets for bacteria contributing to contaminated waters.
In No. 020.62.021A and No. 020.62.021B, I use a substrate of old oceanography textbook pages. Atop this collage are multiple layers of plastic grocery bag and packaging film pieces to create a wave-like design. Because of the delicate nature of this artwork, I covered the entire surface with a non-toxic, zero-VOC resin. Waves, surf and ocean spray are created by manipulating and assembling small pieces of bags.
Through the use of these materials, I hope to inspire a greater consciousness and creativity towards the paraphernalia we would otherwise discard. The artwork I create addresses concepts of stewardship, consumerism, and the paradox of independence/ dependence within our societal landscape. Concurrently, they incorporate themes of family and community. The individual pieces work together as a whole. I feel compelled to build these because they speak to me of the delicate balance we walk with our environment, nature, and with ourselves.
Her work has been included in a wide variety of private, corporate and public collections including the University of Virginia, the District of Columbia City Hall, and Dominion Resources. She has had solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia in Virginia Beach, Greater Reston Arts Center in Reston, VA and Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA. She has exhibited in numerous venues including the US Embassy Kiev, Ukraine, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Novato, CA; American University Museum at Katzen Arts Museum, Washington, DC, Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Riddenhof Martin Gallery, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA; North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC; McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA and the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Augusta, GA. Heidi Fowler currently lives and works in Northern Virginia.