"Intensely Arizona!": New Work by Greg Heil

Exhibition at James Ratliff Gallery, Sedona, Arizona, June 7 - 21
Pulling the Painting Cart.Greg Heil.38x66.Oil
Pulling the Painting Cart.Greg Heil.38x66.Oil
SEDONA, Ariz. - May 16, 2013 - PRLog -- “Intensely Arizona” is the title of Greg Heil’s one-man show at Sedona’s James Ratliff Gallery , Hillside Sedona, 671 State Route 179, Suites A-1 & A-2, Sedona, AZ 86336, debuting Friday, June 7, with an opening reception for the artist from 5-8 PM.  The artist will make a short presentation at 6 PM.  This exhibition will continue through June 21.

The Greg Heil story offers a glimmer into the life and development of the contemporary artist, more specifically, the a maturation particularly experienced by living, studying and preferring to be cultivated, shaped, and creating in the American Southwest.

Heil’s unlikely major influence as a youth was living and working in Lake Havasu City.  It was there he also became self taught in Photoshop and other technological applications for which he recognized a singular talent.  As often happens today in the USA’s public school system, art was a class either non-existent or relegated to the students who were otherwise “difficult”, and Heil’s teacher at the time, recognizing this student’s unusual ability, left him alone in her office to experiment and draw with an array of  colored pen and pencils.

If there is such a thing as coincidence, Heil’s art teacher was selected to design and implement an art program for the city’s Mohave Community College at the same time that Heil graduated from high school.  So, of course, Heil took advantage of the opportunity.  In this art class composed of many students of varying age was a recognizably senior citizen who quietly participated while continually exhibiting unique talents in color and composition.  As time went on, both Heil and his teacher took advantage to paint, sketch and actually do plein air art with this ‘’senior” who turned out to be Bill Hixson, former professor of art at Washington State University.  Hixson is an Arizona snowbird who spends half the year in Port Townsend, WA.  Having lived in France and Samoa previously, Hixson shared his knowledge and talent with Hei(.  (See http://www.askart.com/askart/h/william_j_hixson/william_j_hixson.aspx for info and art sample of Hixson).

Through association with Hixson, Heil imbibed his fascination with color.  To this day, Heil regards Hixson as his mentor.  Throughout the last several years, they have painted together and Heil has eagerly drunk at the fountain of Hixson’s wisdom.  Now 91, Hixson is somewhat compromised in his frontal vision due to macular degeneration.  He is permanently endowed with the title of Greg Heil’s mentor and has given Heil one of his original paintings which Heil displays in his Kingman home.

Friendship with peers is another aspect to Heil’s career.  With fellow artist and companion, Chris Fanning  in early days of Heil’s career, the duo would pull a large lawn cart through the desert (about 2 miles into some rough trails in Sara Park/Lake Havasu City). Heil states:  “We’d carry a bunch of things to go out painting. I was on pushing duty and Chris usually was pulling the cart.”  (See accompanying photo to this article.)

Implications? Just as Baz Luhrmann has chosen through film to contemporize F. Scott Fitzgerald’s involvement with all things cultural in his 20s memoir/novel of The Great Gatsby, so artist, Greg Heil, has expanded the tradition of plein air painting into a new territory of synthetic color canvas images made possible by his conversion of shapes, forms, and palettes suggested by American Southwest landscapes and manipulated through digital possibilities to become singular works on canvas with the artist’s multi-faceted talent heralded by 21st century human and technological influences.

Heil is an artist who not only looks and listens but also sees.  The French word, regard, explains how the now 34-year-old Arizona painter develops.  Heil respects the guidance and career direction offered by James Ratliff’ which led to an exhibition in 2007 as well as the June show.  The James Ratliff Gallery has fifty-years’ experience in the cultivation, exhibition and representation of contemporary art and artists.

For further information about Heil, contact the James Ratliff Gallery:ph.  928-282-1404; e-mail:  FineArt@jamesratliffgallery.com; www.jamesratliffgallery.com
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Tags:James Ratliff Gallery, Sedona, Greg Heil, Art, Contemporary Art
Location:Sedona - Arizona - United States
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