The South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC) is pleased to present the exhibition Mary Beth Heffernan – The Quintessence of Dust at SPARC Gallery, located at the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce on Mission Street. Sam Mellon of the South Pasadena curatorial design firm MICRONAUT organized the exhibition.
“Quintessence of Dust explores bodies in a state of flux, images suspended between one world and the next,” Heffernan writes in her artist statement for the exhibition. It features a large-scale black and white photogram created with human cremated remains. “The tossed ashes are recorded as a negative presence,” the artist states, “the scudding constellation of white dots memorializing its presence on the photographic paper. The celestial illusion is interrupted by the presence of a white disk–a body tag– underscoring the disarmingly literal presence of the body’s remains.” Heffernan uses camera-less photogram and frottage techniques for their primitive analogue and alchemical qualities. A photogram of cremated remains underscores the element of touch, of physical presence, in making the image. Similarly, rubbings also create a fossil-like trace. Quintessence of Dust presents the body as tangibly present, even as it is poignantly absent.
Mart Beth Heffernan is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work explores the interplay of corporeality and images. She earned her MFA in Photography at the California Institute of the Arts, and was a Studio Fellow of the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York City. Heffernan is currently Professor of Sculpture, Photography and Interdisciplinary Art at Occidental College.
SPARC Gallery is located at 1121 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030. SPARC Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5 pm or by appointment. Please call the Chamber office before arriving. 626-441-2339.