Artist's collages are 'a secret garden' with a bright palette

Cory Walsh

For a long time, Heather Stockton’s art was preoccupied with interpersonal relationships and death. Over time, it’s become more inward-facing, and rather than using the figure, her main subject has become flowers.

The bouquets, in a collage of techniques and hot palette, explore questions to her: “What do you want to do in the later years of your life? Is that really what you want? Have you taken any steps to get there?” she said.

Her exhibition, “The Secret Garden Series: What’s Old is New Again,” feels especially brilliant thanks to the timing — it’s on view through January at the Zootown Arts Community Center.

She builds the bouquets out of a collage of elements — some might be hand-painted, others are silk-screened cut-outs, interspersed with some unidentifiable elements. (More on those later.)

The flowers might be drawn from photos, but are stretched and layered into the realm of imagination. Since her purpose isn’t straight representation, the colors aren’t either. “I can push that limit,” she said. In keeping with the series’ theme, “your mind’s a garden, and you can do whatever you want.”

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