Heidi Howard

Heidi Howard


Nancy Margolis Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Heidi Howard’s second solo exhibition titled “Woven Traits.” The exhibition will begin on May 18th, and continue through June 24th, 2017. The artist reception is Thursday, May 18th from 6pm to 8 pm and is open to the public.

Heidi Howard paints portraits of friends and family. The paintings on view began in November 2015 with a personal invitation Howard made to friends, asking them to come to her studio with a piece of fabric on which their portrait would be painted. The small gouaches on fabric are the paintings Howard made with the sitters during their visits to her studio. Howard’s depictions of the fabric’s owners reveal a cosmology of relationships between object, memory, and our lived experience.  Howard responds compositionally to the patterned fabric in her effort to weave it into the portrait of its owner. In some cases she chooses to make the portrait less visible or almost out of sight, and in other cases strong and prominent.

Most of Howard’s larger canvases use fabric or poses from the gouaches as points of departure.  The larger surfaces are canvas primed with layers of white gesso. On the smooth surfaces Howard’s loose seemingly quick movements, drawn with a procession of staccato marks are reminiscent of weaving and threads, of the pieces of cloth she had been painting on for the Fabric Project. The white gessoed surface allows for a transparency of mark and a clarity of line, that contrasts with the rough surfaces sof many of the sitter’s fabrics, and also with the rough rabbit skin glued surfaces Howard painted on from 2012 to 2016.

For Howard, portraiture is more than creating an image or portrait of the sitter before her. It is for her an opening to something deep and rewarding that takes place between two friends, the sitter and the artist.

Heidi Howard put together and printed a zine (short for magazine, self-published, small circulation) for this exhibition. It will include images of her portraits, and writing by many of the artists Heidi painted for Fabric Project. The zine will be available at the opening reception May 18. Limited editions. Reserve your copy. Each is $20.00

Heidi Howard (B. 1986, New York, NY) is a painter based in Queens, New York and Amsterdam, Netherlands.  In 2014 she received her MFA from Columbia University.  Recent exhibitions include “Spring 2017 – Group Exhibition” at Gaa Gallery (Colgne, Germany), “Red” curated by Heather Cammarata-Seale at the Hunterdon Art Museum (Hunterdon, NJ) and “Intimisms” coorganized by Aliza Nisenbaum and David Norr at James Cohan Gallery (New York, NY). In December 2014 Nancy Margolis Gallery featured her work at MIAMI PROJECT during Miami Basel week.  Howard had her first solo exhibition with Nancy Margolis Gallery in 2015 titled “Portrait and Dream”.  Her work was also included in Nancy Margolis Gallery’s group exhibition, “Figuration Inside/Out” in 2015.  This upcoming exhibition, “Woven Traits”, will be her 2nd solo exhibition with the gallery. Her work has been reviewed in the Brooklyn Rail, Art F City and on artcritical.com, among other publications. Her paintings are also featured in Bette Gordon’s recent film “The Drowning,” playing at IFC Center, New York, NY, starting May 10 and available on iTunes June 1.




Nancy Margolis Gallery is pleased to announce Heidi Howard’s first solo exhibition opens January 15, 2015 and is on view through February 14, 2015. A recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, Howard is to present a series of 2014 portraits of close friends, often artists, and family members in the exhibition titled Portrait and Dream.

I came up with the title “Portrait and Dream” when I saw Bill Berkson’s poetry collection of the same title on my nightstand. It feels like an appropriate action to steal these words. It’s similar to the process of making paintings of close friends that look to articulate a resemblance. Reading poems you think that you are becoming intimate with the author but your ideas are abstract and this mystery creates many places where anything could happen. I like that the words “portrait” and “dream” describe the process of making these paintings—thinking about a likeness, making a portrait, dreaming, in order to realize new images. – Heidi Howard

Howard’s approach to portrait painting is to first initiate a dialogue with the sitter. Exploring shared feelings, thoughts, and ideas, the artist informed by the interaction is ready to begin. Referencing multiple photos or viewing the subject directly Howard slowly documents with brush, canvas and paint the subject. Integrating memory, literature, art history, and contemporary culture, she deftly paints with loose, lively, gestural brush strokes, full of color, pattern, line, and a figuration, abstract to defined, reminiscent of old masters such as Matisse, Bonnard, Vuillard, Botticelli.

Howard reexamines the concept behind traditional portrait painting: the relationship to the sitter throughout the process, the construction of a single space with imagery and ideas, sometimes text and iconography, and finally the application of paint on the canvas. The core of Howard’s portraits is the collaborative personal flow she has with her subject creating not only an image of the sitter, but a rendering reflecting their close symbiotic relationship.

HEIDI HOWARD received a MFA in 2014 from Columbia University and BA in 2008 from Sarah Lawrence College, and studied in Venice, Florence, Reed College and Yale University. She participated in numerous exhibitions, including the solo exhibition “Painting for Love” at Con Artist Gallery and the group exhibition, “Four from Fourteen” at Nathan A. Bernstein Fine Art in New York City. Howard was one of five featured artists at Nancy Margolis Gallery successful booth at MIAMI PROJECT Art Fair during the December 2014 Art Basel. She is the recipient of many awards and residencies, including 2013 Rose Biller Scholarship, 2013 Andrew Fisher Fellowship, 2011 Vermont Studio Center residency, and 2014 Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence.