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HIGH BOTTOM by Heather Leigh McPherson 
February 27- March 16, 2016
Opening February 27, 7:00-10:00


Actual Size is pleased to present High Bottom, the first Los Angeles solo exhibition of Heather Leigh McPherson. McPherson’s recent work assembles two- and three-dimensional gestures into wall-hanging reliefs. Spiral-bound sketchbooks, turned to a particular page and frozen in puddles of clear epoxy, dangle from swaths of painted chiffon. Revealing the artist’s ongoing exploration of contemporary gendered subject-hood, the work bears imagery and text culled from a range of cultural institutions. McPherson is particularly interested in industries that promote the construction of a wounded-woman social identity. She lifts phrases from the specialized therapeutic languages of Alcoholics Anonymous, pop Buddhism, luxury rehab, and the DSM-5. These semantic fragments serve as humorous placeholders for deep cultural expectations and demographic self-consciousness. With these phrases the artist both poeticizes and caricatures her own cohort. McPherson explores the ways in which cultural mouthpieces offer a menu of prescribed positions, through her drawings as well as in the material metaphor enacted by the works’ tension, glueyness, and visible process: all central conditions of fraught female subject-hood.

Heather Leigh McPherson is a Providence-based artist whose work deals with contemporary models of identity through semiautobiographical painting, sculpture, and animation. Recent exhibitions include 30 Special Colors at Greenlease Gallery in Kansas City and Anytime Concept at Vox Populi in Philadelphia. McPherson has been on the full-time faculty of Providence College since 2009, where she teaches courses addressing painting, studio research, and contemporary art history. Winner of the 2015 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Merit Fellowship in Painting, McPherson holds a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's from Rhode Island School of Design.

Open by appointment 
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