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Shine by Wilbur Heynes

Heynes returns to the O3 Gallery this January with a new body of work entitled ‘Shine’. The collection includes new steel sculptures and a photographic series of refracted water abstractions.

Wilbur Heynes has evolved a natural abstract style that flows through all the branches of his work. The development of this technique presents each piece reduced to its purest element. Never seeking to dictate interpretation, every item engages the active imagination of the viewer to create a flexible and dynamic relationship.

Having read Classics at Nottingham University and studied portraiture in Italy before Fine Art at Guildhall, Heynes then worked as an assistant to the sculptor Hal Wilson, based in rural France. This period welded Heynes’ attachment to steel and its infinite adaptability, and finding this resonance in the metal brought the central themes of perception into focus. Here grew the relationship between the welding arc and the camera.

Over the last nine years of exhibiting in New York, London, and around the UK, Heynes has developed themes first perfected in a portrait studio in Florence, then broadened during a Fine Art degree in London. His work will always draw upon the relationship between an object and the imagination of the person looking at it.

Operating from a workshop outside Oxford, Wilbur maintains a connection with the land he loves to work. Both this deep-rooted bond with the land and the rigours of agricultural labour influence his practice still.

Heynes on his photography:
“In the moment between looking at a thing and seeing it for what it is, we draw on our memory and experience to understand. This action occurs in a fraction of a second, as fast as a camera can expose film to light.

Using naturally occurring and recognizable shapes provides the key to unlock both experience and memory. And so the work collected here creates a point of origin that opens to a wide variety of interpretations. The principal imperative of this style requires each item to read easily.

Similarly the sense of movement is implied in the photographs of the patterns created by sunlight and water. Both light and water are essential ingredients of life; and while these shapes are freely and naturally occurring, the artifice of the camera opens the patterns to interpretation.

All of these images come from slide film, and a manually operated medium-format camera. Each one uses only available light, and no filter, drawing on the relationship between film and light. The film is then rendered digitally, so that each image recreates the appearance of the slide as faithfully as possible.”