Contained in a 250-mile expanse of the Atlantic, at once snug and exposed, are the coastal sites that informed Daniel Heidkamp’s paintings for “Jaws Dropping,” the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
To look seaward is to seek refuge. Coastal towns remain icons of an enigmatic escapism, and Heidkamp is keenly aware of their significance as artists’ strongholds. In 1975, Andy Warhol famously rented his Montauk, Long Island, Eothen compound to The Rolling Stones, who sought a rehearsal haven far removed from the cacophony of the city. Willem de Kooning verbalized the constraints of urban life on his painting practice and the subsequent release he felt upon relocating to his home near East Hampton: “I felt in New York that I was using colors just prismatically,” he explained, “I had no way of getting hold of the tone of the light of a painting.”
Heidkamp depicts Warhol’s estate and a number of towns from Newport, Rhode Island to Rockport, Massachusetts, exposing their rocky materiality, undulating foliage, and art historical charge. Working in plein air and in the studio, the artist bridges observational painting and abstraction. Sand mixed into the medium in one painting renders the surface granular and expressive, but the lofty private mansion depicted in the same work is architecturally accurate, grounded by cautious detail and confident vertical strokes. Even in the most experimental imagery—multi-colored bouncy houses recur in Heidkamp’s work—there are vestiges of tradition: modular brushstrokes that flatten perspective, recalling Cezanne’s passage.
The specter of the white shark hovers around these works. A beloved cinematographic trope, it doubles as an urgent reminder of the environmental disturbances and unsettled ecosystems that threaten to leave these towns awash. In a recall of painterly epochs, in the respite of the seaside escape, in the menace of the rising tide, Heidkamp unlocks a painting of landscape that is new and immediate.
Born in 1980 in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Daniel Heidkamp currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and his MFA from Tufts University. His recent solo exhibitions include “Pump the Peninsula” at Loyal Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden (2016); “Barbizon Beauty School” at Half Gallery in New York (2015); and “Daniel Heidkamp” at White Columns in New York (2014). His work has been included in many group exhibitions, most recently “Figuratively” at Wilkinson Gallery in London (2015); “The Great Figure” at The Journal Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2014); “Don’t Look Now” at Zach Feuer Gallery in New York (2014); “Ticket To Reality” at Marlborough Chelsea in New York (2014); and “Conveniently Located” at 247365 in Brooklyn, New York (2013). Heidkamp’s work will also be included in a group exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in June of 2017.