Artist StatementI am intoxicated by the painted word. I love how, unexpectedly, words and paint can combine and become a catalyst for an emotional response. I am able to describe, distort or elevate all manner of things. There is an exactness to words. The nature of the paint and how I choose to work with it, methodically and precisely or courting the accident, allows me to cultivate how a piece reveals itself through that substance. First, I find the words. Words by their nature demand to be read, so I use that in my paintings. Seeing words or letters where they may not belong, they must be read for it to make sense. It’s done involuntarily. Letterforms and words can reveal themselves in subtle ways, jump out boldly or sometimes become impossible to decipher. I try to manipulate this in many ways. I may weave words with other words, render them in another language or deliberately fragment them. Sometimes I seek to make use of their shapes so that they appear foreign and familiar all at once. I might lay down a line of paint covering the words and live with that awhile. Maybe I do another. Where these elements intersect is where the nature of the paint transforms the work and a kind of magic can happen, and this is the heart of what compels me to paint. That conversation between color, line, form and surface can unexpectedly give me a sense of exuberance. It can be sublime. It can feel somehow pure. I’d like to think anyone can experience that when they look at my work. Gregory Hein July 2017
Gregory Hein is an American painter. Born in Baltimore, he currently lives and works in the Washington D.C. Metro area. Hein earned his Bachelor's Degree in Design from the University of Maryland. His artwork has been exhibited nationally and locally at venues including Strathmore Hall, Pyramid Atlantic, Torpedo Factory, Maryland Art Place and Artscape.
Hein is known for creating vividly colored, highly textured pieces constructed from collections of words and phrases searching out the sublime, the mundane and the merely illegible. Currently he is working on pieces that focus on things we say to each other. You may run into him around Jackson Pollock’s Lavender Mist at the National Gallery of Art.