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Valerie Hegarty

Bloom & Gloom

8 November, 2018 - 5 January, 2019

Sculpture of potted flower

Valerie Hegarty, Dead Tulips with Root Ball, 2018, Magic-Sculpt, wire, acrylic paint.

Glazed ceramic of potted flower

Valerie Hegarty, Dead Tulips (Cracked), 2018, glazed ceramic.

Wall installation with paper, foamcore, paint, and glue

Valerie Hegarty, Childhood Home: Mom's Bedroom Wallpaper, 2018, paper, latex and acrylic paint, Tyvek, glue.

Glazed ceramic of potted plant

Valerie Hegarty, Dead Dutch Flowers, 2018, glazed ceramic.

Glazed ceramic of potted flower

Valerie Hegarty, Dead Tulips (Driftwood), 2018, glazed ceramic.

Wall installation with paper, foamcore, paint, and glue

Valerie Hegarty, My Bathroom Walls, Unfolded, 2018, paper, latex and acrylic paint, Tyvek, cardboard, glue.

Ceramic wall sculpture

Valerie Hegarty, Broken Rosebush, 2018, glazed ceramic, Wedi board, grout, epoxy.

Wall installation with paper, foamcore, paint, and glue

Valerie Hegarty, Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum (My Subway Stop), 2018, paper, latex and acrylic paint, Tyvek, glue.

Sculpture of overgrown potted flower

Valerie Hegarty, Vanitas Rebirth, 2018, Magic-Sculpt, wire, oil paint.

Magic-Sculpt wall sculpture

Valerie Hegarty, Dutch Flowers with Roots, 2018, canvas, stretcher, acrylic paint, wire, Magic-Sculpt, Foamcore, glue.

Press Release

Burning in Water is pleased to present Bloom & Gloom, an exhibition of new work by the Brooklyn-based artist Valerie Hegarty. Featuring a series of large-scale installation works and ceramic sculptures, Bloom & Gloom is the artist's third solo exhibition with the gallery.

The show includes four largescale paper-based wall works and twelve new ceramic sculptures. In Bloom & Gloom, Hegarty combines her recent interest in ceramics with her long-standing practice producing large-scale installations. The works in the current exhibition are broadly inspired by the theme of Vanitas considered from personal, art historical and contemporary perspectives. 

The large-scale wall pieces are a continuation of a series of paper-based installations that Hegarty began in 2002, which she considers to be her "reverse archaeology" works. As opposed to earlier works in this genre, which frequently referenced iconic imagery from American art history such as Hudson River School landscapes and colonial portraiture, the installation works in Bloom & Gloom are intimately biographical - employing poignant imagery drawn directly from the artist’s life.

In addition to thematic and visual references to the art-historical conception of Vanitas, the ceramic sculptures in the exhibition are also inspired by the classical Japanese aesthetics of Kintsugi (⾦継ぎ) and Yakisugi (焼杉). The ceramic wall piece Broken Rosebush functions as a transition point between the paper wall works and ceramic sculptures.

The freestanding ceramic sculptures in Bloom & Gloom freely reference the 17th century Dutch genre of Vanitas painting transmuted into the medium of ceramics. Although the prototypical subject of tulips is manifested in varying iterations, Hegarty inscribes contemporary anxieties regarding environmental loss, apocalyptic destruction, and illness into the works. Dead Tulips (Cracked) appears to have been desiccated by an unrelenting sun; Dead Tulips with Roots suggests a corporal sense of vulnerability; and Dead Tulips (Driftwood) encodes the existential threat of rising water. The apotheosis of Hegarty’s vision of destruction in these works is embodied in the sculpture Charred Tulips, which suggests a post-conflagration still life. 

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