Painter Andrea Heimer makes work in order to connect with people. As an adult adoptee whose records are sealed – meaning she’s legally prevented from obtaining her own birth records – her pieces come from a hyper-personal vision, speak to feelings of detachment and familial disconnection, but are interjected with visual cues that give each painting universal appeal.
The stories behind her pieces are a often revealing, definitely weird, and so personal that she tries to find ways that people can look at them and see themselves in there somewhere. She chooses to do so through little details, like a character wearing Pink Floyd boxers or a reminiscent black light poster hanging on the wall in the background of one of her paintings.
“I think that’s a very calculated move on my part because when I started making this work, I of course realized most of it was really personal, but part of making it was sort of the desire to want to connect with other people,” explains Heimer. “It’s almost like I don’t consider a painting to be done until it’s in a show and I can talk to people about it.”
These little details are the things that perpetuate a visual dialogue between the painting and the viewer. They propagate conversation between Heimer and her audience, a small moment where the two can make a connection, no matter how topical or heavy it may be.
“Sometimes I’ll be standing next to someone at a show and they’ll lean over and say, ‘I had those sheets.’ Then it starts a little conversation. People will tell you the most personal and crazy things in those three minutes you talk to them in front of a painting. That’s really amazing. Those little details are like the gateway to get to that from people.”