Heather Hansen’s “Emptied Gestures” Combines Drawing with Performance

by Victoria Casal-DataPosted on

Heather Hansen, a visual artist based in New Orleans, meshes performance and two-dimensional imagery by using her own body as the tool to create impressions on paper. Rather than using brushes, which would facilitate the act of drawing and painting, Hansen gets down and dirty, as she manipulates the charcoal and pastels with her own body.

The multi-faceted piece, Emptied Gestures, is documented, step-by-step, by photographer Bryan Tarnowski, who captures Hansen’s dance-like movements and darkened body parts as they leave their imprints on the a grounded piece of paper. By literally emptying her gestures by leaving their blueprints on paper, Hansen looks to further develop the action painting technique proliferated in the 20th century; she searches for ways to directly “download” her movements onto paper in an organic way, without using anything else other than herself to achieve the desired outcome.

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