Young on the Water
July 5 – August 5, 2023
Corrine Woodman Gallery
Reception: Friday, July 7, 2023, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
This portrait series of young people are paintings that address the power and vulnerability of adolescence and how the body interacts with the natural world. Oregon artist Heidi Keith has been focused on adolescent care since she was barely an adult. She worked in residential foster homes, youth shelters, and, for the last 15 years, as an art educator in High School. She now has two sons. Watching them begin to enter that formative stage of life naturally evokes reflection on both adolescence and its somewhat stark contrast to later adulthood. Keith’s work depicts the precarious stage of life between childhood and adulthood. She sees an analogy between the earth and young people – beautiful, powerful, complicated, and vulnerable to the destructive facets of our increasingly complex society.
Keith uses a limited palette; it is a way of trying to understand a scene by simplifying it. The monochrome helps her pay closer attention to both the value changes and my subject matter, and it unifies everything visually, bringing the figure and the surrounding landscape into the same equal plane. The foreground and background have equal importance.
Water is key to her media and often her content. Water is a core component of life and the body, but it is also somewhat uncontrollable and does what it wants – a building block of life and also a cause of erosion. Water is an unpredictable and striking force in painting, and in nature. In this body of work, water is both the content of the artist’s work, as well as a commentary on the fluid nature of youth and the turbulent society young people exist within.
Heidi Keith, (b. 1976) was raised in western Montana. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches studio art at Camas High School in southwest Washington. Heidi earned a Bachelors’s and Masters’s degree from Portland State University. She attended Pacific Northwest College of Art as a post-baccalaureate studying painting.