Paul Heyer

  • A black-and-white contour drawing of a person from the nose up and wearing a hat is overlaid with strokes of translucent yellow, blue, green, and pink.
A black-and-white contour drawing of a person from the nose up and wearing a hat is overlaid with strokes of translucent yellow, blue, green, and pink.
Paul Heyer, Small Cowboy, 2015. Acrylic on silk chiffon; 15 × 20 in. (38.1 × 50.8 cm). Photo: Robert Heishman, courtesy of Paul Heyer and Chapter-NY.
Paul Heyer, I Am the Sky (Version 1: BORN), 2016. Acrylic and charcoal on canvas; 21 × 25 in. (53.3 × 63.5 cm). Collection of Meredith Darrow. Photo: Robert Heishman, courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery.
Paul Heyer, Drunk Skeleton, 2016. Oil and acrylic on polyester; 50 × 70 in. (127 × 177.8 cm). Collection of David Madee. Photo: Jason Mandella.
Paul Heyer, Five Apples, 2015. Oil and acrylic on polyester; 50 × 70 in. (127 × 177.8 cm). Photo by Robert Heishman, courtesy of the artist and Chapter-NY.
Paul Heyer, Large Spiral, 2016. Acrylic on canvas with silver lamé; 53 ½ x 71 in. (135.9 × 180.3 cm). Photo: Robert Heishman, courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery.
Paul Heyer, FOREVER, 2015. Acrylic on silk taffeta; 37 × 48 in. (94 × 121.9 cm). Collection of Meredith Darrow. Photo: Robert Heishman, courtesy of the artist and Chapter-NY.
Paul Heyer, Model of the Universe as a Broom, 2016. Oil and acrylic on polyester; 55 × 70 in. (139.7 × 177.8 cm). Collection of Vanessa and Tal Weitzman. Photo: Jason Mandella.
Paul Heyer, The Future, 2016. Oil on canvas; 30 × 40 in. (76.2 × 101.6 cm). Collection of Sean Patrick Murphy. Photo: Jeff McLane, courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery.

About

The MCA presents the first solo museum exhibition of Chicago-based artist Paul Heyer (b. 1982). In his most immersive installation to date, Heyer creates a multisensory, dream-like realm that combines his ethereal paintings and sculptures, which are rooted in his experiences and memories of being an active participant of rave and club culture.

The exhibition is set to a meditative soundtrack meant to prompt hypnotic or hallucinogenic feelings in listeners. In the background of this soundscape, we see Heyer’s large, pastel paintings, which feature floating figures of cowboys and abstract forms.

The exhibition also presents his recent sculptural work, including brooms that hang in a constellation above the viewer, suggesting a psychedelic fantasy, and a sculpture consisting of metallic lamé fabric draped across a bed-like platform in the center of the gallery. The silky material and its sheen provide another reference to both science fiction and the opulence of drag culture.

Together, the works create a balance between gravity and levity, light and dark, and past and future, prompting viewers to reflect upon a utopian model of the universe.

This exhibition is organized by Omar Kholeif, Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives, and Erin Toale, former Curatorial Assistant, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It is presented in the Dr. Paul and Dorie Sternberg Family Gallery and Ed and Jackie Rabin Gallery on the museum’s third floor.

Funding

Generous support for Chicago Works: Paul Heyer is provided by the Sandra and Jack Guthman Chicago Works Exhibition Fund, Night Gallery, Chapter NY, and Susie L. Karkomi and Marvin Leavitt.