In his seventh solo exhibition at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Sean Healy continues his exploration of ‘maleness’ and masculinity, accompanied by an ever present sense of irony. In Healy’s work a direct correlation exists between the media itself and the artwork’s subject matter. Emblematic images evoking virility and masculinity simultaneously exalt and mock the idea of ‘maleness’; the overt symbolism contributing to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the work.
In Extroverts, Healy adopts a technique for his drawings used by American Pop artist, Edward Ruscha, of utilizing cigarette ash as a medium. The exhibition also features color field paintings composed with layers of auto body enamel applied to panels of cigarette filters, creating highly textured, systematic, and vibrant works. In a new foray into video, Healy projects an image of an upright smoking cigarette onto a screen made entirely of cigarette filters. Simulating a chain smoker, or an employee’s cigarette breaks throughout the work day, the video is also a play between the act of ‘smudging’, a Native American cleansing technique, and secondhand smoke.
Sean Healy was born in 1971, and received his BFA in Printmaking from Alfred University in 1994. In addition to his one-person exhibitions at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Healy has also exhibited at the Betty Moody Gallery (Houston, TX), and Marylhurst University (Marylhurst, OR). Additionally, he has received several important public commissions, including: The Wayne L. Morse Courthouse (Eugene, OR), Pioneer Place (Portland, OR), the General Services Administration Headquarters (Eugene, OR), and the FBI Headquarters (Houston, TX). The Elizabeth Leach Gallery has represented Healy since 1999, and in 2006 published a comprehensive catalog on his work featuring an essay by Stephanie Snyder, curator of the Cooley Gallery at Reed College.