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Summer 2015 Competition:


exploring borders and frontiers within and without

3rd Place Winner


mixed media: pigment, clay, rust, fiberglass mesh, muslin, cedar
26 x 12 x 2in
1,650. usd

artist statement

Topographical surfaced objects are created through layers of various materials. This work explores the relationship between nature and human existence. I am interested in how time is experienced spatially, temporally and physically. The materials are selected based on their ability to represent the past, present and the space between these moments. Strata are built up like crust, or skin. A stitching or suturing mark alludes to multiple meanings. They serve as a recurring memory, a repetitive emotion or to simultaneously hold on to the past and present.

In What It Was, there are long strands of fiberglass mesh that have been torn apart and threaded through the painting.  Earthy pigments form an obscure landscape.  There is a hazy atmosphere as if it is a distant memory attempting to be recalled.  It is a past experience and strands are tied to it.  They have been let go in the present, and now hang down as failed tethers, connected only to the past.  As long as they remain attached to that memory, there is hope to remember what it was.   

artist bio

Heather Whidden was born and raised in Pensacola, FL.  The terrain of the Gulf Coast has informed much of her interest of natural colors and pigments

Whidden’s sculptural paintings come out of a unique process developed over the past several years.  Working on unstretched muslin, she immerses the fabric into pools of pigments.  Once satisfied with the fields of color, pieces are sewn together to form relationships.   

There is a rhythm in the studio, but at the same time it is always spontaneous and responsive to the present moment.  As a result of using mixed media, such as clay and fiberglass mesh, there is a physical topography that builds over the process of an object’s creation. The completed piece serves as an objectified record of experience. 

Whidden received a Bachelors in Studio Art from The University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL.  She is currently a Master of Fine Art candidate at The University of Alabama. Her work has been exhibited at Verum Ultimum in Portland, OR; M.G. Nelson Family Gallery in Springfield, IL; and Water Street Studios in Batavia, IL among other national galleries.




TAG Gallery - California Open National Exhibition, Santa Monica, CA Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center - always here to your there, Tuscaloosa, AL (two person show)

Flow Art Space - Elemental: earth, water, air, fire, Saint Paul, MN

Art Exhibeo - Time and Seasons, online

Sella-Granata - Bilateral, Tuscaloosa, AL (two person show)

Valley Art Center Bell Street Gallery - It’s Secondary, Chagrin, OH


Bama Theatre Gallery West Alabama Juried Show, Tuscaloosa, AL M. G. Nelson Family Gallery Shapes of Influence 

Contemporary Ceramics Springfield, IL Water

Street Studios Process Batavia, IL

Blue Line Gallery Lottery for the Arts Roseville, CA

Paul R. Jones Gallery The Whole Mine Tuscaloosa, AL


Tag Art Gallery Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition Pensacola, FL


John C. Pace Library Skylab Art Exhibit Pensacola, FL

Dolce Vita MUSAE: A Night of Muse Pensacola, FL


Honors and Awards

Award of Excellence, West Alabama Juried Show Bama Theatre Gallery, Tuscaloosa, AL, 2014
Department of Art and Art History Dean’s Merit Award, The University of Alabama, 2013, 2014
President’s List, The University of West Florida, 2011
Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society: Delta Lambda Chapter, 2011
Dean’s Honor Roll, The University of West Florida, 2010-2011


Professional Experience

The University of Alabama Instructor of Record, 3-Dimensional Design Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015
Graduate Teaching Assistant in Sculpture Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015
Graduate Teaching Assistant in 3-Demintional Design Spring 2014
Graduate Teaching Assistant in Ceramics Fall 2013, Spring 2014


Extracurricular Experience

President of Crimson Clay Club, The University of Alabama, 2014



Heather Leigh Whidden, 3rd Place Winner

heather leigh whidden
Tuscaloosa, Alabama [USA]





art scene today Q & A

Q: Where do you see yourself in the art scene today?
A: I see my work as continuing to bridge gaps between art disciplines. I am often questioned if my works are sculptures or paintings, and I think it is reductive to categorize.  Paintings can be made with a variety of media, and sculptures do not have to be placed on a pedestal.  What isimportant, is the gesture made with the material and what that conveys.
Q: What is in your inspiration?
A:  Space.  There never seems to be enough space in the studio for the multitude of works I start.  They go through a strange process of pigment, rust, or clay baths that take over the studio.  For this reason I started using my backyard as a large “petri dish” that paints environmental patters of experience on the muslin.    
Q: What are your challenges?
A: A personal challenge has consisted of an intrinsic desire to transcend the look of main stream digital photography. Since I am a painter and photographer, I search for ways to merge these disciplines into a creative techniques and processes. Furthermore, as the predominant subject of my work, I am challenged to constantly evolve as a chameleon-like visually interesting subject.
Q: How did you/do you choose your medium?
A:  Over the past decade, I have had a diverse studio practice as a student in painting, ceramics, and sculpture.  For five years the studios have started to merge.  I was painting with clay on paper, using aqueous painting practices on wood, and using oil paint on ceramic sculptures.  At some point the fusion settled into one studio, but stayed open to the medium chosen for each piece.  

Q: Which artist has influenced you the most?
A: Anselm Kiefer has had a large influence on my work.  To be more specific, his painting Aschenblume exhibited at Fort Worth Modern Museum.  There is raw beauty with his composition and thick, thick layering of materials.


 other work