Hidden in plain sight at 915 Waters Avenue is Indigo Sky Community Gallery, which this past Saturday night hosted the opening reception of Intent, a collection of works by painter Heather MacRae-Trulson.
There is an immediate sense of welcome that is felt upon entering the space where colorful doors open onto exposed brick walls and the brightness of lights draws you into the adjacent room.
You know you're there to see the paintings of Heather MacRae-Trulson, but you can't help but notice the splatters of paint on the floor and the upside down umbrellas that hang from the ceiling, hiding the infrastructure of the building behind blue, green and yellow polka dots.
Above the doorway artists are reminded of the importance of "Living Breathing Thinking Doing ART ALL THE TIME."
At 7 p.m., those in attendance were ushered into the artist's studio of Jerome Meadows for a discussion with MacRae-Trulson and SCAD professor and painter Todd Schroeder. In a dimly lit room against a black backdrop, they sat leaning towards one another and spoke softly of her creative process.
MacRae-Trulson recognizes the tension inherent in her work and she refers to her forms as incidents, willingly accepting the drips, the swirls and the brushstrokes as part of the process.
I was lucky enough to have had a conversation with Heather MacRae-Trulson at Indigo Sky Gallery before the opening reception where I learned that the hats that she wears are many. By day she works at a furniture store in town, is a co-owner of Non-Fiction Gallery on Bull Street and is always a painter.
At first a stranger to the South, she came to know the city during her two-mile walk from her residence to Alexander Hall where she discovered Savannah is a city of constant surprises. In a world full of distractions, so many things in the natural environment may escape notice, but for Trulson everything deserves observation.
That 10,560-foot walk became a journey of moving meditation where MacRae-Trulson created photographs along the way. These photographs were then transformed into cards and eventually into paintings.
Since graduating from SCAD, MacRae-Trulson no longer walks to Alexander Hall. Now, her commute on the back of her husband's motorcycle is her communion with Savannah. In this driven world where we're constantly required to take the wheel with few moments allowed to be a passenger, MacRae-Trulson is lucky enough to go along for the ride.
There's something to be said about experiencing Savannah swiftly, without windows and without doors and this transportation on two wheels has caused her work to evolve. Where she once was interested in excavation and uncovering the many layers of a painting, she's now concerned with shearing off the excess from her canvases for fear of exposing too much.
Without a studio in which to work, she paints in her living room using the sparse materials of a brush, a bucket and a canvas. This is where she created her pieces for Intent, a series of 12 pieces that represent her interaction with Savannah. It is an acrylic translation of the journey from the three-dimensional world to the flat canvas.
In the center of the room stands a wood framed basket filled with 3.5" x 7" cards, small maps of her many journeys through the city. They are fleeting memories, a midway point between her experiences in the world outside and her interpretations on the canvas.
Along the white-washed walls are a collection of the artist's work from the past two years with aptly chosen titles of nouns and verbs that play with the duality between visual and written language. The architecture that helps shape her experiences along the way never fully take form on the canvas. Lines, sometimes straight, sometimes jagged make their way across the paintings.
These paintings bring the viewer to the brink of recognition. A line here, an edge there, offer second hand experiences of the seemingly familiar.
Throughout her work, MacRae-Trulson attempts to capture time, elongating her experiences by stretching them onto the canvas, but time is fleeting and abstraction is all that remains.
Standing in front of her work, Proust comes to mind:
"Remembrance of a particular form is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years."