Heidi L. Kirkpatrick is a fine art photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Kirkpatrick offers interpretations of the world experienced from a women’s perspective, often using subjects with whom she has a personal relationship. Kirkpatrick pairs photographs with found objects—children’s blocks, boxes, books and even old ash trays to create renewed objects of art. By incorporating figurative images and actual portraits, Kirkpatrick “reframes” these stories, allowing for ever changing vignettes. Kirkpatrick develops her own images, including silver gelatin printing, alternative processes, photographs using a Holga toy camera, transparent images on film and 3-D mixed media objects. Kirkpatrick’s work is included in numerous private and public collections including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, Springfield Museum of Art, Ohio, The Indie Photobook Library, Washington, D.C. and The OHSU Corporate Collection. In addition to being an experienced mid-career artist, Kirkpatrick joined The Northwest Academy, in 2004, to teach wet process photography at the high school level.
I am in love with film. All of my work is made with film. I shoot on film. I print on film. I do all of my own work in my darkroom. I like it dripping off my elbows. I do not use a lot of fancy equipment. My “models” are the people who are closest to me, my family and friends. I love layering the film positives over anything and everything I can think of or find. My studio is filled with found objects that inspire me, and photographs, lots and lots of photographs.
I often use photographs to transform these found objects into pieces of art. Fusing transparent figurative and family portraits with children’s toys and blocks, boxes and tins, I create a playful tension between imagery and object. My work tries to breathe new life into these objects, yet they leave hints of the past in their lovingly worn appearances, the flecks of paint missing, soft corners, dents and dings.
I also live with a substantial amount of physical pain and have for many years. In my continual search for an answer, as well as my way of dealing with the unexplained, I dissect my copy of Gray’s Anatomy. The images find their way into my work, layered under those closest to me. The illustrations bind, clothe and wrap the body. Reminiscent of nineteenth century cased images; Specimens are housed in small hinged tins that open and close to reveal or conceal the secrets they hold. Putting the inside on the outside I wear my heart on my sleeve. These works depart from the frame as they are arranged on a table top or shelf, often stacked or placed side by side to reveal narratives of family life or the complexities of the feminine allure while drawing on memories, contemporary issues and visual formality.