Erik Madigan Heck – The Garden

From The Garden (2020) © and courtesy Erik Madigan Heck.

The Garden is really a fairytale about a more hopeful place. It’s the world I always saw when I looked at paintings with my mom at the museum. It’s a world created around beauty. In a sense, it’s a series that builds upon the tradition of classical landscape painting and figurative painting and even early photography. I actually see this series as a collection of self-portraits that I’ve brought to life with my own family.

The Garden is neither real nor imagined, it’s kind of both. It is the place that I live, and that is my family, those are my kids. Every gesture in the pictures are real, but at the same time I never say this is a series about family, it’s about beauty as an ideal and using colour as a vessel to achieve that. It’s the colour that crosses the threshold and brings us into that imagined world. Colour changes everything.

When I talk about my relationship to painting using photography, it’s really about the process of how I arrive at that end result. The photograph is just the beginning, like a canvas where you layer colour, I layer colour on top and on top until I discover that place that I’m looking for. It’s always an experiment, I never set out knowing what that end result is going to be.

– Erik Madigan Heck

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