I have a very loose list of rules that I go by to define a good piece of Art. One of which is, if it makes me laugh or smile instantly, it is good. Much of the work I recently saw by Robert F. Heinecken fits that qualification. With his playful commentary on the commercial age we live in, you can tell he is both sickened by it, but knows exactly how to poke fun at it. His most recent exhibit shows his ability to express these ideas through a variety of media. It seemed more like several mini-series of work, rather than one giant one. The only thing they all had in common was that they all took images from advertising, and distorted them.
One group, used a series of images from magazines. Heinecken would take both the image from the front of a page and the image from the back of the same page and overlap them in a black and white negative. The resulting images ended up being an excellent combination of ironic and creepy.
With another group of works he took various images and gave some 3-dimenionality to them. I can’t say exactly how he did this, but the images looked somewhere between like they were crumbled up into a ball or just stuffed with crumbled paper. So you could still make them out, but it was distorted. He then took these various bulks and collaged them together in very surreal but hilarious poses.
The series that was the most instantly funny, were the cardboard cut-outs. These things are usually pretty funny without an artist manipulating them. So when Heinecken gives Andre Agasi lace panties, a cigar, and a hook for a hand, it’s pretty hysterical.
What is he trying to say with all of this? Well I think it is safe to say he wants to bring some attention to the way we are bombarded with similar images against our will on a constant basis. Maybe it’s his own therapeutic way of fighting back against the commercial giants. Or maybe he is just having fun, either way, if he can make people smile or laugh, let’s keep him around.