by Mel Fenson
Heuer has been busy painting colorful, imaginative images of Taos and the
New Mexico landscape, since he relocated to Taos from New York City in 2000.
He considers himself a Taos post modernist. He made his mark early in Taos,
when he won the prestigious Taos Invites Taos Best Representational Painting
in the 2006 Taos Fall Arts Festival.
When he's not painting Taos, he likes to create visionary paintings that combine multiple geographic locations into one painting, which he describes as, “a sort of hyper-reality," He has coined this style of painting as "Utopic Displacement.”
Alan Heuer says his unique style of painting has always sold well. He refuses to allow his creative freedom to be limited by the whims of gallery owners or current art movements. Independently-minded, he likes to strike out in his own artistic directions to reveal his own perspective of the world
through his paintings.
Growing up in Wyoming, Heuer (pronounced Hoyer) was surrounded, “by visions of the beauty of Wyoming's mountains.” He said that he remembers countless afternoons watching the clouds drift by and hearing his father call him to watch the spectacular Wyoming sunsets. These memories are recalled and explored in his landscape paintings.
a youth, he was influenced by science fiction and fantasy stories written
by his favorite writers, including, Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose stories about
Earthly adventurers transported to various planets have found their way into
many of his "Utopic Displacement” paintings. He also liked science-
fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, and Frank L. Baum, who wrote the Wizard of Oz stories. Many of Heuer's paintings reflect lingering images of ”worlds of massive distant mountains, flaming sunsets, exploding nebula, frozen moons and cities of fantastic shifting shadows and light,” inspired by the books he read when he was young.
Heuer also derived artistic insight and inspiration from his, “explorations of museums and art galleries in various cities.” He is not impressed by contemporary art, but prefers the styles of, “the great visionaries of the late 19th Century, the romantics - Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Church, and Maxfield Parish.”
While at college, he was disappointed to discover that the educational institutions he attended did not teach the skills he thought were necessary to bring his visual longings to fruition. He, therefore, followed his own path of art eduction by, “studying the old masters and digesting the great treatises on materials and techniques.” And, he said he, “spent many hours figuring out his own approach to painting.” However, he did receive an M.A. Cum Laude from Brooklyn College, and a B.M. with Honors, from the University of Wyoming.
Heuer considers oils to be the perfect medium,“ because they can be worked and re-worked.” He commented that he has spent as much time taking paint off the canvas as putting it on. He likes to apply oils in multiple layers, “often with pure pigment - the less I mix the better.” He explained that, “The impressionists mixed white with everything, which tends to dull the surface. I want my colors to pop.” He continued, “I work mostly from dark to light as the old masters did - notably, Rembrandt, who used mostly dark earth colors. However, my dark pallet is quite vibrant with very intense purples, greens, reds and blues.”
Describing his technique, Heuer said he often begins a painting starting with a red ground as the first layer of paint, then he applies paint over the top. He builds up transparent pure pigment layers of the darkest colors first over the red, which usually takes at least two or three coats to create the saturation and darkness he's looking for. He elaborated that, “The red comes through and gives the painting a glow that I like. Pure blue over red creates a deep vibrant purple blue. I also build up the lighter areas with pure pigment from my lightest opaque colors, being sure to not add white. White is the last thing I use.” “Once the surface is dry,” he said, “I may go back again and add transparent pigments over the lightest areas to make them glow.” He clarified his artistic approach, stating that his art is not just about the process, “it's about the images I create.” Heuer added that he has recently started to use his computer to manipulate and form images, before he begins to paint.
“Maturity has honed my approach,” Heuer said. He explained that he tries to see nature's colors, patterns and shapes and combine them into a cohesive whole to create an interesting and pleasing design. Heuer said his many of his ideas evolve from nature, which he, “photographs, memorizes, sketches, and even dreams about.”
As an artist, Heuer declares his intention is to, “communicate, de-mystify, clarify, share and realize in paint on canvas - the controlled, colored chaotic abstraction of reality.”
Heuer said he explores reality in plein air, his surrounding New Mexico landscape, and his memories of the Wyoming landscape. He added that to expand his horizons, he also likes to make, “photographic forays into the world of New York City’s landscape.”
Heuer's work has received international recognition and his paintings have been purchased by collectors in the US and abroad. In 2009, he was published in Kennedy Publishing's, Best of America Oil Artists Vol. II, and he has been invited to be featured in their "Best of World Oil Volume I." In 2009, Heuer's painting of When Jupiter aligns with Mars was published in an article in the Taos News.
During 2009, Heuer's work was included in exhibits at: the Wilder Nightingale Fine Art gallery in Taos; Sage Fine Art in Taos; the Taos Fine Arts Festival; the Taos Center for the Arts Benefit; Stables Art Gallery in Taos; Taos Artist Organization, and the Taos Open Studio Tour.
Among his recent commissions are: "A Teal Truck in Taos" – painted for a client in Houston,Texas; and, "Evening Shadows on a Round Taos House" – done for a client in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
work is currently represented
in New Mexico by Sage Fine Art
in Taos, www.SageFineArtTaos.com
and independently at his
Ever in search of new ideas, Heuer declares that he continues,“ to roam the world, camera in hand, gathering material for his next big painting.”