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Madison Avenue Mannequins

I feel there is a connection between what is considered high-art and non-art that can be deciphered through visual signs and symbols. I collide and juxtapose photographs depicting high art-classical sculpture, painting, architecture--with images or things usually encountered on an utilitarian level--signage, instructions, or even say plumbing fixtures--to unveil semiotic similarities and contradictions that elicit a layered reading from the viewer.

The primary reading can be one of harmony but then a subversive sub-text signaling a feeling of quiet anxiousness begins to creep in. Something is not quite right, out of balance, or discordant.

While in New York City a few months after 9-11, I was transfixed by the illuminated nighttime department store windows. Here were mannequins on display, stylized to impart the consumer action of  ‘purchase’ to the viewer.  Yet these mannequins were mute witnesses to the world shifting crisis a few miles away. This indifference, coupled with ideas of vanity and fashion, seemed just as powerful as any high-art allegorical sculpture. Could a figure made of plastic and rubber have a lasting influence on our society as any figure sculpted in bronze or marble?

For this body of work, I was honored in 2003 with The Barbara Singer Artist Award, one of the four major artist awards in New England—the others being the Aldrich Emerging Artist Award, the Maud Morgan Prize, and the ICA Artist Prize

"Heyne is comfortable with ambiguities. His most recent photographic suite, The Madison Avenue Mannequins with O-Rings, is  a superb series in which the beauty of a hand-toned photograph embedded in resin rests conceptually on a dialectic. How might art by an American male address issues of romance in the 21st century? Heyne's earlier work pairs details of classical Italian sculpture with wordless diagrammatic instructions for using power tools. The Madison Avenue series continues to reference classical Italian sculpture combined with postindustrial remnants. Industrial O-ring shapes, the color of Jordan almonds, create a graphic pattern alongside soft-focus images of wedding gowns in store windows on Madison Avenue. Indeed, things are happening.”

--O'Brien, Barbara. "Prize Patrol.” Art New England, April | May 2003, vol.24, issue 3, pp. 26-27

All works are toned silver prints with polyester resin on 1/4" aluminum plate.

This series is no longer available.

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