Ariana Heinzman is a ceramic-based artist, creating sculpture, wall works, and functional objects that blend floral imagery, utilitarian vessels, and the body. Her work represents the dueling desires of succumbing to nature and controlling it. However distressing these conflicting desires can be, the work honors the beauty of life with joyful patterns and forms that celebrate nature and human ingenuity.
Heinzman creates quickly and intuitively, keeping her hand in the work. This direct process captures the urgency and joy of making and acknowledges the agency of the materials. The raw clay retains memory and reacts to Heinzman’s touch. Forms are coil built and smoothed by hand. Each layer in turn defines the path of the next. Pigmented slip is applied in layers with brushes in gestural strokes forming bold lines and patterns. Form and surface are used to build illusion. There is a contrast between the naked clay body - soft and imperfect - and the bold, graphic finishing adornments.
Heinzman sees her vessels as a stand-in for the figure. Her forms embrace the utilitarian nature of pottery while also comparing it to forms in nature and the body. This comparison poses questions to the viewer about our relationships to our bodies, objects and the natural world. Various art movements and genres have influenced and developed Heinzman’s process. These include traditional folk art and craft, specifically Pennsylvanian German Fraktur, and William Morris. Other influences include the graphic arts, and intersections of craft and fine art throughout history.
Ariana Heinzman was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here, she became aware of the city, the rural, and the elusive “wild” landscape, causing her to question her own relationship with the natural world. In 2009, Heinzman started her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, learning from Katy Schimert, and visiting professors Matt Wedel, and Simone Leigh.
Heinzman’s practice has often been shaped by where she lives. Early on, She lived off the grid in rural Ohio, making vases and planters for farmer’s markets. After moving to Vashon Island outside of Seattle, Her work became a blend of her earlier sculptural work and her functional work. Her exhibition at J.Rinehart Gallery has shifted her focus to exploring this work further and with vigor.
Informed by seeing people’s reactions to art in a market space versus a gallery space, Heinzman strives to incorporate the familiar into works that do not fit inside the confines of a functional object. Heinzman blends themes from traditional folk art, the arts and crafts movement, and the graphic arts and re-contextualizes these themes into sculpture. Not to “elevate” but to see these forms and styles without the restrictions of purpose in a contemporary setting.