Heather V McLeod is an artist exploring identity and the psychology by which we perceive others. Interested primarily in portraiture and representative work, Heather creates pieces with the intent of capturing the character of the figure portrayed. She plays with the use of symbolism and concealment to enhance the narrative and evoke a quiet yet humorous side to portraiture.
Born and raised in the greater New York area, Heather received her MFA from The New York Academy of Art in 2021 and her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. In 2017 she was awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Award in Perugia, Italy where she lived and worked for a year. She is a recent recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant and The Leslie T. and Francis Posey Scholarship. She has been featured in a number of exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad and has been the recipient of a number of art related awards, including most recently AXA Art Prize Finalist. She is currently based in Manhattan.
There exists a space between our outward appearance and inner self. It is a space lined with objects that carry a record of our experiences and a glimpse into our past. My work explores this space.
Through non-traditional portraiture, I draw a line between physical appearance and identity. I use objects related to a person to develop their distinct iconography.These objects act to enhance the narrative of the figure we cannot see and welcome a range of interpretations. My art focuses on the gesture of the hand, on the vulnerable spot behind the ear and the less observed features that stand in for the whole.
I have always felt the need to hide a part of myself in any situation. Many of us have this tendency, whether consciously or unconsciously, and I enjoy navigating this territory. A face hidden behind a wreath tells the story of a strong woman whose choice in jewelry mimics the bright red berries that persist through the depleted winter. A flower of faith and purity dropped to the floor speaks to the hand that has just released it. By concealing the face, one must find meaning in the symbolism of what we are permitted to see.
The elusiveness that results parallels the elusive nature of our own identity and, ultimately, reality.
2021 Hide and Seek, Trotter&Sholer Gallery, New York, NY
2018 Più della Pittura, Palazzo Gallenga, Perugia, Italy
2021 Bloom, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
The Self-Portrait Prize 2021: Exhibition of Long-Listed Works, Ruth Borchard Collection, Online
Give Me Some Skin, Sugarlift, New York, NY
2020 AXA Art Prize, The New York Academy of Art, New York, NY Parallels, The New York Academy of Art, New York, NY Milieu, The New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
2019 Deck the Walls, The New York Academy of Art, New York, NY Beneath Notice, The New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
The Coffee Art Project, The New York Coffee Festival, New York, NY Up-and-Coming Invitational, Shain Gallery, Charlotte, NC
2017 I Spy, Ciel Gallery, Charlotte, NC
Single Fare 4, Highline Stages, New York, NY