Belgium based artist Kati Heck paints expressions of the people in her life. Her figurative works undulate between realism and an absurd abstraction of the human form. Her style is considered a modern take on German Expressionism, where emotional reality is more important than the surface. Looking at her paintings feels like looking through the wavy surface of water or broken glass. Proportions are thrown out the window in favor of visual exploration. Heck’s upcoming show “Mann O Mann” at Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium consists of a new series of portraits, mostly of herself.
In this 2012 interview, she shared, “When you get to know people better, you get used to their bodies. I’d love to zoom in on certain features and magnify them.” As in her piece O Tina, the folds of her blouse connect to her fingers which transform into a giant cluster of bananas. It doesn’t seem to serve any purpose except to appeal to the artist’s interests and improve the flow of the composition. Any hint at a narrative is found in Heck’s cryptic iconography. Almost every piece incorporates made up vocabulary words that reference works of fiction. In fact, causing people to feel curious or confused is an intentional part of the viewing experience. It is only through Heck’s physical deconstruction of the sitter that that we’re able to access their emotional depth.
“Mann O Mann” by Kati Heck exhibits at Tim Van Laere Gallery from September 4 to October 11, 2014.