‘Weathering the Journey’ Opens March 14 in Overbrook Gallery

Benediction by Cynthia Hellyer Heinz

Benediction by Cynthia Hellyer Heinz

“Weathering the Journey,” an exhibit of paintings by Illinois artist and educator Cynthia Hellyer Heinz, will be on display from March 14 through April 15 in Muskegon Community College’s Overbrook Gallery.

On Thursday, April 14, Heinz will be on campus to discuss her work at 6:30 p.m. in Stevenson Center Room 1100. A reception will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in Overbrook Gallery.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays with special weekend and evening hours during theater performances, receptions, concerts and gallery talks. Call 231-777-0324 for details. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact (231) 777-0324.

Since 2006, Heinz has coordinated the Northern Illinois University School of Art and Design’s Foundation Program, which provides beginning students with fundamental skills, knowledge and experiences essential to their development as visual arts professionals.

As a full-time artist, Heinz acknowledges that nature plays an integral role in her work. She and her husband of 40 years, a ceramic artist, work out of their rustic home studio in Warrenville, Ill.

“I am a committed, passionate gardener and relish the cycles of the seasons and plants as the tomatoes ripen, to rot, to seed, to regeneration,” said Heinz, whose art has been exhibited throughout the nation and extensively in the Midwest.

The Anticipation by Cynthia Hellyer Heinz

The Anticipation by Cynthia Hellyer Heinz

“My family and the nature encircling my studio have become the resource for my work. I am inspired by continuous changes observed through inner-connectedness felt by engaging time and the positive metamorphosis of the body and spirit. It is possible to see the full potential of life in nature and I find it imperative to offer this image to the viewer through drawing.

“Regarding the seeming abundance of nature; we photograph, we paint, we hang it with reverence on our walls, yet we so easily dismiss the fragile, temporal aspects of nature. The sparrow, common and plentiful as the newspaper, the epic image of the forest – they are all a fleeting moment vulnerable to our human disposal.

“The maternal aspect of nurturing has been traditionally acknowledged by the use of the phrase ‘Mother Nature.’ Mother holds a preeminent position in our consideration of goodness.  We would not exist without the mother, the giver and sustaining power of life.  From the cycle of youthful feminine beauty to the cragginess of the etched flesh of the crone, the female figure is an emblem of an experience, comprehendible to all, through our relationship with mother and nature.

“We are beings who revel in landscape.  The sunny days influence our state of mind.  The smell of earth pulls at our memories. These drawings are narratives about the linking spirit between the mother and the sustaining environment, the acknowledgement of the preciousness and vulnerability that is integrated with the quality of our existence.  This existence is rooted in the cyclic aspect of regeneration, birth and death, and the transitions of time and the seasons.

“Nature is infinite and powerful, yet its smallest beings, like infants, are exposed to human whims.  The bees disappear, the birds a less and we fear the tsunami of our carelessness.  In the end through the recognition of our blessings, sacred Mother Nature, we redeem our quality of life; comprehend the reciprocal intrinsic thread that binds us to our time, environment and potential.”

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Governor’s Award at the 2014 Illinois State Professional Artists’ Competition, Heinz earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in New York City and a Master of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University.