Challenging traditional conventions in painting has established Colleen Heslin as an emerging leader in contemporary Canadian art. Known for her innovative textile-based methods, Heslin develops textures with ink and dye on second-hand fabrics, which upon inspection reveal themselves as collage-based, process-formed trompe l’oeil. Considering Modern histories of painting and social aspects of the medium regarding gender and labor, Heslin’s work engages with material conversations connected through medium crossovers. Heslin pushes the limits of painting; it’s definitions, classifications and hierarchies, disrupting medium-based expectations.
The paintings in Outcasts and Shady Trees follow material traditions of re-use in quilt-making, offering a shifted perspective where an off-cut edge is cycled into the centre of new work. These central abstract forms gesture towards figures in landscapes, pausing on poetics of the outcast, questioning what is lost and/or gained through perceptual shifts. In a similar fashion of recycling, Heslin’s sculptural work is developed from discarded construction hardware. These linear works form sculptural scribbles that play on structural material tendencies and aesthetic associations, where piping and rope morph into abstracted figures and larger then life accessories.
Colleen Heslin graduated with an MFA from Concordia University in 2014. Her work has been shown at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Montreal), SFU Gallery, Burnaby Art Gallery, Unit/Pitt Projects, Kinderhook & Caracas (Germany), RATS Collective (Switzerland), and numerous other venues. Her work has been written on and published in Canadian Art, Artforum, Pyramid Power and other Canadian and international periodicals. Heslin won the RBC Painting Competition in 2013.