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For release: 21 January, 2021
Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to present The Long Goodbye, an exhibition featuring new media work by artist Heidi Neff. A virtual premiere and artist talk will be held on Friday, January 22nd at the above link beginning at 6:30 PM followed by a virtual reception.
Neff reflects on the theme behind the show’s title by remarking, “For many of us eagerly awaiting a new start in 2021, hope has moved from New Year’s Eve to Inauguration Day. To what – or to whom exactly – are we saying goodbye this January? Are we bidding farewell to a power-hungry autocrat? Or parting ways with our Republic as we know it? How many more Americans will we be forced to part with due to the pandemic? Or will we, optimistically, dispense the necessary vaccines and finally begin saying goodbye to the virus itself?”
With these thoughts in mind in the lead up to the election, Neff decided to make one frame-by-frame animation every day beginning on Election Day and ending on Inauguration Day itself. It is by nature a personal diary reflecting on all of the possible outcomes - and resulting worries – of this time period. Like the several months preceding it, there was plenty of madness to spare on a daily basis. While the artist began 2020 on sabbatical, the year definitely did not go as expected. Neff is primarily a painter but sought to integrate animation into her work, so she dove into learning. By March 2020, Neff realized she would need to refocus her efforts on developing online studio courses for her students, along with the virtual classes and homeschooling now required of her as a mother of two young children. And all this on top of, you know, just a killer virus spreading around.
Neff’s situation in 2020 was anything but unique, and her mounting stress, crushing exhaustion and heartbreak found release in her artistic practice. The Long Goodbye brings to bear Neff’s newly developed animation skills in reaction to a 24-hour news cycle dominated by a pandemic, political news and a general feeling of being scattered. It mixes political cartoons, personal stories, hallucinations and doom-scrolling paranoia. All of these factors pervade the work that emerged from this high-pressure incubator of daily creation and constant reflection, paired with a soundtrack created by the artist’s husband, Paul Chuffo.
In addition to being projected on the gallery walls, the animation will premiere on YouTube during the exhibit’s virtual opening January 22nd at 6:30 pm, followed by an artist talk. Limited edition digital prints of images pulled from these animations will also be for sale through the gallery for the duration of the exhibition.
Heidi Neff is Professor of Art + Design at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland, where she was granted a sabbatical to work on animations for the Spring semester of 2020. Despite headaches, online teaching, small children, and a love/hate relationship with technology, Heidi makes apocalyptic animations with a hand-drawn/hand-painted aesthetic. Heidi earned her MFA from University of Iowa and her BFA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She makes her home in Maryland with her husband, Paul Chuffo, and their two children, Max and Maya.
Above: Doomscroll. Heidi Neff. Still from “The Long Goodbye” (2020) Digital Animation.
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