"Fool's Gold": Katy Heinlein & Alika Herreshoff Use Strong Colors to Deliver Their Visions

Workaround is a fabric sculpture by Katy Heinlein
Workaround is a fabric sculpture by Katy Heinlein
Photo by Art Palace

Strong colors deliver the messages of two artists, one using fabric sculptures and one employing acrylic on canvas. The small but enlightening exhibition is at the intimate Art Palace, which seems to have a knack for displaying innovative art.

Katy Heinlein's Workaround is deceptively simple. Its shape at first glance seems as though it might be a chair tossed on its side, but inspection indicates otherwise. The shape is interesting, and defies familiar categorization.

The structure is covered in green fabric, with a gold fabric strip covering part of the top and running down one side and extending onto the floor, a bit like a serpent seeking to exit the forest. What makes it intriguing is the vividness of the green, the golden hue of the strap, and the subtlety of a teal backing for the strap.

I tried to imagine the structure with other colors, as the shape seemed strong. I believe it could handle orange and purple, colors this artist uses, and perhaps even brown and black. Why not name the shape "Entrance" - to give viewers something to think about - and continue with this shape in various hues? About 40 of these pyramided at odd angles might make an interesting installation, perhaps with some of the serpent tails being longer than others. Or perhaps not: Heinlein would know.

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Habit at first looks like a yellow paperclip, but the "clip" itself turns out to be a strip of fabric, itself supported by an almost invisible length of wood from the wall. A small blue fabric loop is attached to the top of the clip, and supports a much larger black fabric of indeterminate shape that rests on the floor, with grey edging.

The shape to me seemed definitely to be a snail, but it could as easily be a trained seal stretching itself for a performance. It is a bit like Hamlet's cloud, which Polonius agrees in sequence to seem very like a camel, a weasel, and a whale. It is simple but mysterious, and rather wonderful.

Fob has three orange fabric strips, with backing of vivid purple, and small tails of grey fabric. Its strength is in its vivid "in your face" colors" - very successful - but I didn't feel the need to enter its world.

Alika Herreshoff's Fool's Gold has the shape of a squat apple, with interesting colors, intense violet at the top, yellow center, brownish bottom, and some varied minor edging at the bottom sides. It seems passive, quiet, but still has energy - perhaps it is a bomb biding its time, not an apple after all.

I liked Sweet Nothings a lot. Its colors are blue and rose, and Herreshoff here provides a sense of perspective, as the blue oval at the bottom blocks part of the rose-colored egg-shaped oval over it, and the egg in turn blocks part of the blue clouds overhead. Its three-dimensional feel deepened the viewing experience, and added, well, a dimension. Snail's Pace uses a central deep purple to good effect, with strong images at top and bottom. Are they lovers communicating? Is the title an indication of the pace at which love blossoms? Or, more likely, is the top image an observer of the snail at the bottom? Only the artist may know.

Sore Thumb has a 3-dimensional optical illusion that is interesting, but otherwise the work seems bland. That same feeling holds true for Fool's Paradise, almost entirely pink and cherry-colored, with a slight blue top. The soft, billowing images seem to be directionless. And Blew Blown Blue is almost monochromatically blue, and seemed unrewarding; other may disagree.

Fool's Gold: Katy Heinlein & Alika Herreshoff continues through October 18, at Art Palace, 3913 Main, open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 281-501-2964, artpalacegallery.com. .

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