The English irregular verbs which serve as titles for Heidi Wood’s triptychs are precious keys to a better understanding, in analogical terms, of the great complexity of what appear to be gently abstract and decorative paintings.


Each addition to the “Irregular Verbs” series is made up of three paintings of the same size, often small or medium in scale, on which are placed forms applied as planes of color that vaguely call to mind historical abstractions. The strained, never easy relations between colors as well as the upholstery fabrics often used as a support contribute to the alteration of models and the undermining of references. Beware of appearances!


These tame little paintings are also formidable deregulators of time and gesture. And the titles encourage this terrible mechanism.


Much like the verb that accompanies it, the triptych neutralizes any narration and articulates in three parts the development of an action that is probable yet cut off, for the moment, from any necessity of result or relation to the real. “Off by heart”, as a technique applied to painting leads to a mechanization of memory. Like the two commas that separate the irregular tenses of these verbs of exception in writing, the oil painted surface and the all too visible texture of some fabrics impose a return to the present.


Far from the naively syntactical solutions that allow many artists to paint today, Heidi Wood, by working so closely with language, allows herself the most simple of freedoms in painting.


Nicolas Chardon

December 1999

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