Heather Day

Heather Day

As the title suggests, Pour explores a dynamic approach to painting, characterized by the pouring and pushing of paint on and across the canvas. Embracing experimentation and chance, both artists create abstract paintings that study light, color, and movement. Macnaughton and Day have a complex and intuitive handling of paint, balancing raw expression with restraint. Each artist builds upon Abstract Expressionism’s gestural marks and expressive potential for color, adding their own personal narratives.

Inspired by her study of sensory perception, Day’s work connects “the thoughts between what is known and how it is felt,” capturing the profound and mundane situations she experiences through her lens of synesthesia. Synesthesia is the perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second. Day recounts, “When I’m experiencing heightened emotion, I see blurs of lush color in my peripheral vision, basically my mind interprets emotion as color. To me, it’s really there–as if I’m holding a colored filter over part of my vision. Looking straight ahead, my sight is unaffected but in the peripheries there are rich washes of cyan, burnt orange, phthalo blues, and fuchsia.”

For Pour, all of Day’s paintings were completed during a month-long residency at The Macedonia Institute in Upstate New York’s Hudson Valley during the month of December. Away from the daily distractions of living in the city, the rural and snowy environment gave Day the opportunity to reconsider the foundational aspects of her painting practice. Commenting on the quieting nature of snow, Day observes, “In a way, the snow is like a blank canvas, a platform on which smaller shifts and changes speak a little louder.”

When starting a painting, Day quickly adds marks to the blank canvas situated on the studio floor, allowing each mark to inform the next. Her repertoire of mark-making techniques includes pouring, dripping, and scraping paint across the canvas, drenching the canvas with water, and picking the canvas up to let gravity move the paint around. Similarly, Macnaughton’s process-based approach features manipulating paint with water.

Heather Day

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