Playing with Shadows, Concrete and Pastels

Artist Heather McKenna uses shadows not just as inspiration for her works, but as another medium.


Interdisciplinary Brooklyn-based artist Heather McKenna’s work is geometric, pastel-hued, walking a line between painting and sculpture.

Organic shapes and artificial materials combine for a stark contrast in McKenna’s practice, as unnatural pinks and blues and sharp geometric lines stand out against wavy, snakelike forms and paintings textured like the surface of the moon.

Much of her work plays with the movement of shadows, either through the actual shadows cast by sculptural objects, or abstract renderings of shadows in two-dimensional works. In a series titled “Plant shadows,” the patterns cast by plant leaves create variegated grey images that resemble grainy photographs of tree bark viewed up close.

In McKenna’s concrete-based sculptures, crevices form shallow valleys, like a barren desert landscape viewed from far above. Her tubular foam pieces cast wavering shadows across gallery floors and windows. The shadows of McKenna’s works act as an extended medium, like paint that moves depending on the time of day and the light within the room.

Find more of Heather McKenna’s painting and sculpture at her portfolio.

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