Jay Heikes
6/1/2019 - 9/8/2019

Jay Heikes’ (American, b. 1975) diverse practice engages a range of traditional media, including graphite, oil paint, and bronze, as well as found materials, such as dirt, rocks, and sheet music. Often conceiving strange or unexpected pairings of these and other materials, Heikes questions the relationships among the substances that make up the universe, an inquiry that stems from his lifelong interest in the natural sciences. The son of a chemist, Heikes is particularly fascinated by alchemy—the medieval precursor to modern chemistry—which proposed that transforming matter is possible, if not always explicable. As such, he embraces what he calls the mysterious “mutations” that accompany making art.

Although he is known primarily as a sculptor, Heikes recently turned to painting in response to the social and political turmoil that is gripping the United States. Rather than directly addressing current events playing out on Earth, however, Heikes has diverted his attention toward the sky, making paintings of voluminous clouds in a panoply of colors. In one sense, the artist sees depicting clouds as a necessary bit of escapism during a particularly turbulent historical moment, yet he is also drawn to the notion that a cloud embodies infinite possibilities. It can take on any shape, morph quickly, and, perhaps most importantly, no single cloud exists forever. At a time where the present often feels bleak, Heikes’ paintings allow us to acknowledge that the future is unpredictable and only minutes away.

What's pictured: Jay Heikes (American, born 1975), Mother Sky, 2018, oil on canvas, 47 1/8 x 65 1/8 in., Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen, © Jay Heikes. Photo credit: Object Studies

The Karen and Doug Riley Contemporary Artists Project Gallery

A 500-square-foot space in the Scott Pavilion suite of galleries, the Riley CAP Gallery showcases nationally- and internationally-recognized artists, as well as emerging talent, selected by Joslyn curators. A rotating schedule of intimate, carefully focused exhibitions will examine how artists engage with the world and respond to the issues that challenge them creatively, bringing new perspectives on contemporary art to Nebraska.

Riley CAP Gallery artists will be invited to Joslyn for lectures and other public programs, giving audiences the opportunity to gain insight into creative processes and contribute to an expanded dialogue about new art. The first Joslyn gallery dedicated exclusively to living artists, the Riley CAP Gallery represents an important step in making contemporary art an even more integral component of the Museum’s exhibition programming.