HEAT: Artists' Statements

Benjamin Parks

This painting of the artist's cousin is an examination of tensions that cause heat and friction in the family dynamic. Many times these tensions are projected onto a relationship as emotional baggage from previous life experience. In this piece the resulting frictions are represented through dynamic brush strokes, contrasting color choices and the expressive subject.


Maggie Starcher

The Earth Sign Matriarch sits within and becomes part of the lush landscape. The yellow-green color field implies the humid, verdant air of summer, thick with heat. She reclines comfortably, conserving movement in the midday. The ice cream she enjoys slowly melts down on to her fingers. A dog views her from a distance, sitting camouflaged in the fauna and shade, observing her and her ice cream. Sunglasses shade her eyes, a mystery. A transparent, halo-like wreath floats at the crown of her head suggesting a lackadaisical, heat-educed coma, and symbolizes her station as an Empress, a matriarch of the earthly realm.


Karen Steen

Thermophiles (Greek: thermo meaning heat and philla meaning love) are organisms that live in extremely hot environments. Their habitats are hot springs, deep sea hydrothermal vents, and volcanic zones, where temperatures range from 106-252 °F.  It is hard to fathom that life can flourish in boiling water or steaming vapors. This disbelief comes from our anthropocentric orientation. Humans and most other animals are heat-sensitive, yet thermophiles are heat tolerant. It is a reminder of the immense diversity of the biological world.

 Some scientists theorize that life on earth began when lightening strikes hit a warm soup of chemicals. Todayʼs thermophiles are considered close relatives of those primordial life forms. Astrobiologists assert that studying thermophiles will provide insight into life in the extreme environments of outer space.

 My collages are imaginary visions of heat lovers that thrive today, or perhaps sprang to life in a primordial soup billions of years ago.



Tim Pott

Starting in 2013, I began exploring a new direction with my photography, which up to that

point had been about capturing images through a very traditional style with very little

manipulation. I started creating images that were much more abstract and through the process,

the work became a journey focusing on the visual study of energy.

In The Explosion Series, I move towards imagery that is more about the frenetic nature

of energy. Each singular image, captures the raw and uncontrollable energy in it’s own unique

way. At a very basic level, energy is heat. My imagery seeks to capture that moment just after

the chain reaction happens. It’s the moment that, milliseconds before, was nothing, but now

burns and explodes out of control.

“From The Explosion Series #2”, the chain reaction is more inward. Fine filaments of

energy weave intricate, but subtle patterns. I use a wide black frame to emphasize the feeling

that this all is happening, surrounded by empty black space. I also feel that this static framing

element accentuates the chaotic energy within. The material I’ve chosen for these photographs

is a very unusual metallic surfaced paper. The mirror-like surface gives the images a three-dimensional quality.



Andrew Erdrich

“Heat, I mean spicy. I need spicy. All the time I need it. And every time it needs to be hotter

than the last time. And tonight it needs to be even hotter than that. But what is the limit? Will I

ever reach a “heat ceiling?” Momma don’t know, momma don’t like hot food, don’t ask momma.

I’ll ask the Heat, I mean the cops. Cops like heat, that’s why they got all that pepper spray. I

guess the bad guys don’t like it spicy cuz the cops are always spray, spray, spraying, just like

dogs in heat. Maybe I should mace my curry, or mace my etouffee, or mace that black, burnt pizza I left in the oven overnight. Maybe that’s the limit. And if I ever wanna be a bad guy the heat won’t be

able to get me. Lebron might know. He has lots of experience with Heat. Heat was all he knew but he was too cavalier. Found a new hot date. And that’s passion, lust, and sexuality. And it’s heat. And this

heat… this heat is encompassing life. It’s not just a progrock band from the late 70’s. This is the flavor of life. Heat is energy, and that which has an absence of heat is lifeless.”

“Thank you to M.O.I., Alex Savage, and Jessica Erdrich.”



Zachary Zakibe

The imagery found in Disenchantment is inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus. To escape from the island of Crete, Daedalus and his son Icarus fly away on wings made of feathers and wax. He is warned by his father to stay at a reasonable altitude. However, Icarus feeds his curiosities and flies higher into the sky, melting his man-made wings and plummeting to his death as a result. To me, the interpretation of HEAT is expressed in the many ways my subject discovered and dealt with his addictions. The heat of passion, the heat of a pipe, and the heat of regret mixing together to bring about death and healing rebirth.

Inspired by addictive tendencies within the gay community, Disenchantment represents both the internal dialogue and external struggle of a gay man breaking away from a branded reality. Anonymous sex, recreational drug use, and unattainable physical beauty have taken on a sense of glamor amongst the homosexual community, leading to the destruction of many of the individuals within it.

After seeking treatment for compulsive sex and drug addiction in November of 2014, a close friend of mine slowly began adjusting to life outside the abrasive lifestyle that had been so normal to him. I immediately became fascinated with his struggle, and approached him with the idea of chronicling this journey through a series of anonymous images. Disenchantment is the first in this series, taking a look at the moment he realized addiction had become his reality.



Shenequa A. Brooks

The theme of Heat is found throughout my body of work, but most specifically in these two pieces. My work focuses on the friction of cultural identity of craft and fine art within the realm of weaving, or the weave. Ideas of heat, time, and meditation carry on throughout my work and shine light on the process of getting one’s hair done, ‘woven’, and the community and experience that occurs in process. Even the act of

heating one’s hair to flatten, to iron, to ‘tame’ one’s hair brings upon the concept of friction and what it means to flatten out your cultural, racial identity for the sake of popular aesthetics.



Alison Moyna Greene
Within light, the spectrum of all colors, dimensions and possibilities exist. This light produces heat, power, fire and life. Light acknowledges the existence of darkness and their coexistence is a sacred dichotomy and unity. Sacred geometry and the color spectrum are used in my artwork to express this unity.

The artwork I create speaks of transformation, changing one thing into another entirely; a movement towards a higher power, a greater good. Like the fire of a phoenix, one existence must complete itself in order for a new one to be reborn.

This artwork series goes through a physical transformation that is a metaphor of a metaphysical transformation. This process begins by weaving a plain blank canvas. This canvas is painted on with ink (see before image). The painted weaving is then unwoven until only the vertical warp threads are still attached to the loom. The horizontal weft threads are then rewoven back together with the warp in their original order. There is now a transformation that takes place in the process of reweaving as the original image no longer lines up. Instead, the weft shifts in two different directions. The warp, staying in the same place through this process, becomes an imprint and memory of the original image. The final image is a combination of the warp and weft after the transformation is complete, creating a new image altogether.



Blanket Undercover

In society at large there is a misconception that the artist is a solo creator of genius. BLANKET sees The Artist as part of an old regime of outdated art world rationale based on game-playing and privilege-favoring that results in artist recognition. BLANKET is artist duo Megan Mantia and Leone Anne Reeves who choose to counter this misconception through collaborating, with the intention of knocking The Artist off the pedestal.  BLANKET is a couple of pranksters who aim to create high art out of low art, but not in a sarcastic way. Much of their work is a parody of personal and societal frustrations, hilarities, and pop culture. They surpass mockery in order to experience something hilarious and joyful in the midst of an art world that is too serious, and the only thing BLANKET is serious about is being silly. For the theme of this exhibition, we could not resist engulfing the stifling white cube in flames. It will quietly remind the viewer of the unstable nature of luck in the art world, the pressure we experience as creative beings, and above all just sit there a silly wallpaper trim to bring a playful element to the show (as art should!).




Nathan Sutton
I have been making a series of autobiographical paintings based on photographs since 2006. The main subject of my paintings has been light and motion; the dance of natural light, artificial light and in these paintings – fire – the light from within that generates itself. 
The artworks honor my appreciation of the tradition of painting in my stylistic approach, drawing on realism and the pastime of using one’s life experience as subject matter for artworks. My paintings make a step toward an optically-dynamic viewing experience. This is set off by asking the viewer’s eye to travel across levels: image, rising and falling texture, translucent fabric, and some areas that can be completely seen through; taking the viewer above, on, through and beyond the surface level. This can make the viewer aware of the materials of the painting, and also highlight the image as a dancing, moving memory; dynamic and rich but existing on a thin border above and bel




Celina Curry

HEAT has been an omnipresent theme in my recent reflections on the dichotomy between America's fetishization of the female body and its simultaneous condemnation of expressions of female sexuality. My unyielding fascination with vintage and fringe erotica has culminated in an ongoing series of paintings that seek to transform the most compelling elements of my research into images that emerge just on the far side of the uncanny valley, and demand that viewers reconcile their immediate instinct of repulsion with the sneaky rising of temperature that can only point to arousal -- at what point does cold and unmoving objection begin to warm, and what visual elements coax the viewer's restraint to bubble and finally boil over into unabashed voyeurism? Like the transformation from a staunchly anti-cootie school kid to a giggling preteen (not-so-) casually perusing adult novelties at the mall, I seek to heat viewer's reticence to a boiling point at which they can no longer deny the work's primal allure, regardless of their formal opinion, to elicit lost feelings of pubescent awakening. In YUGGIES WITH SHUNGA, the fine line between 'art' and 'erotica' is explored with alternating exaggeration and simplification of form, jarring color, art-historical references, and the inescapable gaze of ladies who inhabit a realm far less prudish than ours.



Deanna Dikeman

I have been photographing ballroom dancers at their dancesport competitions for many years. When I learned of the exhibition theme Heat, I immediately thought of ballroom dancing. There is the physical heat of the dancers’ bodies as they exert themselves in the sport. It’s a sweaty, intense athletic endeavor. You can also see the heat of the emotions the dancers express as they move through the steps of the tango, the paso doble, or the rumba: sensuality, bravado, passion, power, electricity. There is the heat of the theatrical lighting, the heat of the intense colors of the dancers’ costumes, and the heat of hands and bodies touching. Finally, there is the heat of the competitive energy on the dance floor.



Rachelle Gardner-Roe

Koi Wrap (Heat of the Dragon, Heat of the Mother)

According to legend, koi would swim up an ancient river to a large waterfall. At the top was Dragon’s gate and only a few koi were brave enough to make the final leap up the waterfall to be transformed into a powerful dragon. Like a swirling flame, Koi’s structure is created by sewing lace panels into a spiraling form.

Additionally, the patterns of koi fish have come to represent many aspects over the centuries. In the family structure, the red, or flame, koi symbolizes the mother figure. The artist’s mother was her art teacher throughout childhood and she continues to learn new processes from the creative force who sparked her own life.



Gloria Heifner

Forest Afire is painted using deeper reds and yellows leaning towards the orange spectrum along with blues giving the image a dark foreboding feel. The dynamics between color and the movement in the painting give the impression of a cold, dark night disturbed by flames of heat shooting into the sky and reflected off a surface of water or ice below. One is drawn to the warmth of the heat while being shocked by the fire’s all consuming energy.




Steph Toth Kates

The inspiration for my paintings comes from stories – fairy tales, mythology, fables. For my proposal for Heat: A Juried Exhibition I have included a photograph of my painting entitled “Every Friday”. This piece is based on a story found in Mules and Men, by Zora Neale Hurston – a collection of black America’s folklore. In the story a man who was kind to birds dies and ends up in hell. The mockingbirds come together and decide that every Friday they will each drop a grain of sand into hell to eventually quench the fire and save the man.

My interpretation of this fable – “Every Friday” - could stand alone in the show. But I also plan to create a series to continue the theme begun in this painting. Much of my work plays with the contrasts of above and below ground. I intend to create a series of 9 x 12 acrylic paintings to be displayed in a grid. Two of these paintings will be my interpretations of mythological stories about the heat from the sun (above ground.) Two would be interpretations of stories of heat from below ground, the underworld. As well as the African American tale I’ve already interpreted, I plan to draw inspiration from Greek mythology, Native American lore, and an Aesop’s fable.

More images of my work can be viewed at my website: www.stephtothkates.com.




Linda Lighton

My visual thoughts range from social issues and fear of humanity growing cold to celebrate the wonders of life. My Vision has come to be a plea for respect, dignity and a connection with other people. I desire to visualize my hopes, fears, and enlarge our circle of understanding.

After witnessing two violent murders near my studio in Kansas City, I decided to speak up in my work.  In 2010, Kansas City was the 5th most violent city in the US. Here in the US we have 50 million more guns than every man, woman and baby!

I am interested in how guns are viewed in our culture.  My work has always addressed questions of power, gender, and desire, which are integral aspects of gun violence. The objects I present are for a means of communication. Let us not head directly to the lowest common denominator of packing heat. I hope I’ve captured the repellant and seductive nature of violence. The work is an open invitation for conversation about these very loaded topics.

My sculptures are defined by their sensuality, fertility and empowered sexuality. The general theme is transition, growth and change. How can we get to the next place with grace and style? Change can is painful; shedding old skins like a locust, or a cotton ball opening to release the white fluff inside, reveals something new and delicate.

Believing in mankind and transformation, I hope to inspire change for a more positive future



C A R I E # M U S I C K

#NSFW: A series of three smaller (5”x7”) embroidered paintings that represent sexuality and public identity on social media apps (aka Instagram) and the aforementioned permanence of such posted material.




Cecilia Otero

When I think of the word ‘heat’ I think of summer. Reflecting on this word for a good while I struggled with how to capture my thoughts, feelings and memories of summer and execute it in a manner that is relevant to my current explorations and media I use within my art. I have always been an avid collector of vintage postcards- I love the use of muted color, the old memories captured on a postcard, finding a handwritten message on the back, thinking of people who sent these souvenirs of their travels to a loved one. This past year I have begun experimenting with incorporating embroidery onto postcards. It is much more of a laborious process than one would think.

To properly depict my interpretation of the word ‘Heat’ I was very specific as to what postcard and imagery I wanted to use. I finally came across the postcard I thought would be very suitable in correlation with the given word ‘Heat’. It depicted a family of three swimming in Michigan Lake- the mother and father holding their young daughter between them laughing as the waves crash against them.

I then drew out abstract geometrical designs to which I have gained a further interest in and transferred over the postcard image. Punching numerous little holes in the postcard I began to embroider my design on it. The mother father and ocean were arbitrary so I felt no need to include them and began blocking out everything in colored cotton thread focusing solely on the girl in the picture. My reasoning’s for this are a bit nostalgic as when I looked at the image it made me think of how I spent my own summers as a child and hence wanted this to be the main focus of my artwork.



DeAnna Skedel

The first thing I thought of when I saw the prospectus Heat was an old cliché:

 If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

 So I revisited a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, that had lost, its ingenuity, and impact by overuse… I actually find myself in my kitchen a lot.

 I have been asking, checking in with myself; what are the things I am looking at? What are the things my eyes rest on? How is my creative time being spent? What am I hopeful of? Yet, I often feel like I am in some sort of time loop, an infinite repetition of circumstances. How can I change my circumstances so that I can face the original circumstances with new eyes? I look inward or I look broad but I am very seldom mindful of the moment I am occupying. I feel the pressure of people, job and family fighting for my attention when I want to daydream, when I need to daydream to find inner resources. I have been documenting this spot in my kitchen, I am continuing to document and calendar this spot- I hope that if I am stuck in some sort of time loop – a time that is repeated potentially to learn or remember something that I will not walk away unaware or having missed something.  I have been documenting my kitchen to capture that moment – to see if there is some clue to being present, some clue for being in the very moment, to give this time.