MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)Prior to 2012
Artist StatementThis project, entitled Rapture, deals with the idea of a technologically-induced transcendent state; total concentration, total absorption into an electronic experience, which could, by all external appearances, be legitimately mistaken for a moment of religious epiphany. I was sitting in a college computer lab and began to notice the faces of the students as they engaged the devices before them. The facial expressions I saw put me in mind of other faces I had seen; faces from the past, specifically those pictured in Christian art of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Bernini’s “Saint Teresa in Ecstasy”, Caravaggio’s “Incredulity of St. Thomas”, Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” …here were those faces, again. Only this time, they manifested themselves as they played games, read email, performed computer network maintenance, studied, did office work, organized calendars, Tweeted, updated Facebook profiles, shopped, sold, paid bills and searched for love.
Chris Heard was born in the American South and spent most of his childhood roaming the woods of the Appalachian Mountains’ southern terminus. After high school, he attended a state university to study Forestry until he eventually realized that the focus of such a program was diametrically opposed to his own concept of the husbandry of nature. He later earned a BA in Film Studies from the University of Alabama, and an MFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. His photographs have been shown in galleries across the U.S. including The Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA; Yosemite National Park Gallery, Yosemite, CA; Leedy-Voulkos Art Center Gallery, Kansas City, MO; Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL; University of Toledo Center for Visual Arts, Toledo, OH and Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD, among others. In 2009, the Maryland State Arts Council awarded him an MSAC Individual Artist Award Grant in Visual Arts for his photographic portfolio entitled “RAPT/ure”.