This new body of work continues Heimer’s formal exploration of densely populated compositions inhabited by figures inspired by Ancient Greek Black- and Red-Figure vases and medieval bestiaries. While Heimer’s paintings have previously portrayed actual memories and stories from her childhood, this group of works imagines a series of hypothetical narratives staged in the future which address her conflicted decision about finding her biological parents.
When a 2015 bill passed in Montana allowed adoptees new access to their original birth certificates, Heimer was faced with the choice to uncover the names of her birth parents or to leave them sealed. Each painting in this series imagines a different scenario should she choose to request this information, yielding a wide spectrum of emotions — rejection, anger, acceptance, isolation, guilt, relief, recognition, or embarrassment. Heimer illustrates her own expectations and anxieties through the layered formal complexities of her paintings and their diaristic titles.
In this series, Heimer’s titles mimic an oral tradition of storytelling and the ways in which narratives change as they are passed from person to person. Heimer’s typically eloquent titles become purposefully jumbled as she translates them into a series of other languages and then back to English. Through transforming and displacing her titles in this way, Heimer uses this body of work to explore what it might mean to give up a measure of control and authorship over her own life story.