Based near DeWitt, Iowa, Heidi Draley McFall creates large-scale portrait drawings that encourage us to explore our shared humanity. This exhibition features work created over the past four years portraying the artist’s family, friends, and past acquaintances. McFall’s connection with the sitters gives her insight into their emotional state and personality. So, whether capturing a quiet moment between friends or the features of a close relative, each work has a profound sense of intimacy and authenticity.
These monumental drawings are sourced from black-and-white film photography that she develops in her darkroom. The spontaneous effects that occur during the developing process provide a pathway for McFall to break away from the confines of traditional realism. Following the creation of the drawings, she coats the paper in resin—a liquid epoxy that hardens into a clear layer. This technique preserves the delicate pastel marks and adds avenues for experimentation. McFall alters the resin through the addition of powders and dyes, and by impressing the top layer with materials, including shower curtains and shrink wrap. The final works are a combination of intention and chance variations, with striking visual effects, intriguing surface textures, and veils of pigment that add depth to the drawings.
Presentation at the Figge:
Supporting sponsor: Bill Barnes
Contributing sponsors: First Central State Bank, Ohnward Bancshares, Inc.