In Supernormal, Sean Healy’s major new body of work, sentient beings and inanimate objects observe and survey one another. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell who or what is in control. A large black vulture commands the space, surveying the scene with a keen eye while presiding over a symbolic world in which prey and predator chase each other around the room. Amidst such dynamic power relationships, the metaphor of vision hovers like a mist. Healy
has long been preoccupied with the nature and the “shape” of vision. Lenses, faceted glass gems, rubber bands and even wads of gum reference the ocular; the eye and the portal are ever-present. As in the large installation that Healy is creating for the FBI’s Houston, Texas headquarters, many of Healy’s new pieces unfold serially; reminding us
that memory looses its potency without reinforcement. In Spring Training (2006) for instance, flower-like coronae of cast resin exercise weights reference the strain and repetition of bodybuilding from a subversively decorative perspective. In Egghead (2006), cast resin wads of gum form a regal portrait of Melville Dewey (inventor of the
Dewey Decimal System) on the underside of a wooden school table. Studying this precise and colorful portrait, it is easy to forget the implication that it was assembled from bits of “trash,” — objects thrust under a table while no one was looking in a cheeky act of disobedience. Occasionally Healy deploys real detritus, like the cigarette butts that form a minimalist circle in Behind the Bus Garage (2006). The title says it all. Healy keeps us on our toes by blurring the lines between simulated and actual media. This vibrant tension keeps the work playful and free spirited.
Paradoxically, Healy reminds us that we have a tendency to take things too seriously in a world that needs serious attention to improve. Healy’s associative universe evokes the turbulence and melodrama of adolescence while firmly
establishing that issues of power and status never loose their relevancy.
Sean Healy was born in 1971 in Syracuse, New York. He received his BFA in Printmaking from Alfred University in
1974. Healy has had numerous one-person exhibitions both at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery and at spaces such as Marylhurst University and Mahlum Architects, Portland. Healy has also received several important public commissions, including: Pioneer Place, Portland, Oregon, the General Services Administration Headquarters, Eugene, Oregon; and
the FBI Headquarters, Houston, TX. The Elizabeth Leach Gallery has represented Healy since 1999.
The Elizabeth Leach Gallery will publish a comprehensive catalog on Sean Healy’s work in 2006.