Description This tree stood as a sentinel outside our first Philadelphia apartment. It became iconic for me, as we had moved from a multiple tree location in Pittsburgh to the concrete canyons of South Philadelphia. This was the closest tree within 100 or more feet. It has power lines going right through it. The shape of the tree is almost halved, because branches that grow too close to the row houses would have to be cut. I sold this painting to an individual who happened to grow up right around the block! He didn't recognize the place outwardly, but he had a visceral reaction to it. When he asked where it was, he couldn't believe it! He grew up less than 50 yards away. I am intrigued by that type of connection that some of my paintings elicit.
The tree could easily be overlooked, but I wanted to paint it in a way that would emphasis its 'Place.'
Noel Hefele, Philadelphia Member Since January 2008 Artist Statement Through my painting, I investigate relationships.
Our personal experiences are inseparable from the physical and social environments we find ourselves in. Our actions unavoidably affect and shape our surroundings: there is a narrative of value in this. We have come to a point where these effects cannot be ignored. In urban places, invasive species, watershed and storm water issues, barren brownfields of post-industrial waste, as well as barren, cold, improperly considered inter-personal relationships, are all very real concerns of citizens caught up in the remnant realities of an industrial culture. Our relationships to each other, nature and society are ultimately shaped locally.
There is a dawning global conversation about our relationships amongst ourselves and our responsibilities to the natural world. As an artist and painter, I want to find ways to participate in that dialogue.
I learned how to work, study and practice art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since I left there, I have been looking for an artistic and academic community.
I investigate relationships through a practice of looking, caring, and painting. I believe that this can help weave visual narratives that clarify complex issues and contribute to the dialogues between people, culture, place and nature. I want to focus on the role of images in constructing shared values as related to the rapidly changing and paradoxical eco-social landscape. Can painting act as a catalyst to start conversations and develop and spread knowledge? In our dominant social context, how do I, as an artist, deal with ethical issues in my work? Can I develop a language of aesthetics that supports these ethical explorations? These are some of the questions I've been asking myself.