University of Maine at Presque Isle Assistant Professor of Art Heather Sincavage is in the middle of a very busy fall semester: in addition to teaching her very first round of classes at UMPI, she is exhibiting both nationally and internationally over the next several months.
Sincavage, a mixed media artist, is presenting everything from a solo exhibition to pieces in juried and invitational group exhibitions between August 2011 and April 2012. Her work examines identity through the deconstruction and reconstruction of the figure.
Her busy exhibition schedule began this summer, with her show Iniciar, which ran between Aug. 3 and 29 at the Croft Gallery in Waco, Texas. This solo exhibition of 27 mixed media paintings and drawings was the result of taking part in a juried exhibition entitled Self at the Croft Gallery in the summer of 2010. The juror, Aaron Sacco, the animator for Richard Linklater’s film, A Scanner Darkly, awarded Sincavage “Best in Show” for the exhibition’s theme.
According to Sincavage, Iniciar was an exhibition that worked with two archetypes that she created – Architect’s Daughter and Sojourner. Both are an examination of female identity through the deconstruction of the portrait and subsequent reconstruction. Architect’s Daughter uses marks and structures inspired by architecture models and forms reminiscent of trusses and scaffold. Sojourner is about the constant transition all people are in. The image is blurred through the application of tea to the portrait then re-established either through embroidery or stack paper. The pieces are suggestive of landforms from the perspective of a topographical map and use cartography terms as titles.
Sincavage’s second show of the season – Juxtaposed – began on Sept. 23 and runs through Nov. 30 at the Six Summit Gallery in Ivoryton, Conn. This juried exhibition by curator and painter, Alyssa Monks, is about the contrast elements that are constantly around or within us. The work Sincavage has represented there is Architect’s Daughter, which visually and metaphorically is suggestive of contrasting elements. As a portrait with both deconstruction and reconstruction, the piece is about the constant cognitive negotiation all people have within regarding true and authentic identity.
The third show in which she is participating is the Artist Annual at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, Penn. This group exhibition features Sincavage’s Sojourner piece between now and the end of October.
Sincavage’s work appears next in Europe when The Outsiders, a juried group exhibition of installation art, is presented during the FNAC del Festival Periferias from Oct. 16 to Dec. 2 in Huesca, Spain. The Outsiders is an exhibition about the “reason and madness” of life. The exhibition is part of a larger yearly art festival in Huesca. The Festival repurposes vacant buildings to be art galleries for a month or more during the Festival. Sincavage’s exhibition will be in an abandoned slaughterhouse with eight other Aragon artists. Sincavage’s manager Artix Creativo Espacio arranged her participation in this exhibition.
Her fifth show of the season Home Front Heroes: Women of World War II will be shown at The Gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley from Feb. 27 to April 28, 2012, in Center Valley, Penn. Sincavage was invited to participate in this group exhibition based on her work with Penn State Lehigh Valley and her reputation for working with women’s issues. The show honors the women of WWII, specifically the women who went to Penn State LV during the WWII effort as engineering, drafting, and chemistry students. Ten artists are being invited to create work around this theme and have been supplied with archives from Penn State to work with, such as photographs and newspaper clippings. The exhibition will celebrate the campus’ 100th anniversary as well as honor Women’s History Month in March.
In addition to these national and international shows, Sincavage has a local show going up in November at Café Sorpreso. She’ll be showing pieces included in her Iniciar show.
The common thread running through all of these shows and Sincavage’s work is the examination of the female archetype. In her artist’s statement, Sincavage said her work “focuses on how we question and define our ideal example of the feminine but also the overall accomplishment of a cognizant ‘self.’ The work is not to be confused as having answers but is more about the methodology one creates to ask the question then further how the journey of answering the question unfolds.”
Using the figure as context for mark making, Sincavage carves, erases, covers, and rebuilds an image as a metaphorical dissection and reconsideration of “self.” The portrait, she explains, is less about the superficial appearance and more about one’s consciousness.
Sincavage’s work has afforded her many opportunities such as exhibitions, speaking engagements, and artist residencies. Notably, she was selected for a summer residency in Zaragoza, Spain in 2009 where her work continues under management with Artix Creativo Espacio. She has been awarded numerous Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants; been grant funded to attend the Vermont Studio Center; and was a Spring 2010 Artist in Residence at Lehigh University. In May 2011, she was awarded the “Outstanding Contributions to Visual Art” Award by the Allentown Arts Commission, City of Allentown.
Sincavage received her BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, Penn., and her MFA from the School of Art, University of Washington in Seattle, Wa.