Acclaimed Canadian artist Heather Horton, now a Pasadena resident, is set to astound art enthusiasts with her latest exhibition, “Immersion,” opening next Saturday at Whimsy Pasadena. The show, featuring over 30 oil paintings, will take viewers on a profound visual journey, much like the artist’s own personal journey, from anorexia and depression to confidence, which is reflected in her work.
This exhibition marks Heather Horton’s 16th solo show and her U.S. debut since recently moving to Pasadena. Her previous works have graced book covers, appeared on album covers, and even made appearances in films.
Horton’s work delves deep into the internal complexities of seemingly simple moments, touching upon themes ranging from trauma and womanhood to deep pain and gratitude. Her unique style, characterized by magical realism, leaves audiences in awe and sparks the imagination.
In “Immersion,” Horton shows her own personal love for painting water. Unlike most of her previous art, in this exhibit, the artist takes the viewer underwater.
“I’ve painted water for many years,” she said. “Most of the paintings in the show are going to be water paintings, and I usually, historically, have painted from above looking down into the water. But now I’m fortunate that I can be within the water, under the water, taking different viewpoints, which is very exciting. It’s a whole other feeling to me.”
Horton reveals she had been working towards this show since early 2021, way before she had to have surgery on her spine, which she said was physically challenging. That, and the recuperating that came after the surgery, “helped me appreciate what I do even more.”
She further reveals she was “so unwell for a long time many years ago,” diagnosed with osteoporosis when she was 30 and trying to recover from being anorexic.
“I had all sorts of health issues because of that,” Horton said. “So it was a whole constellation of things that I slowly overcame with becoming healthy through a proper diagnosis, proactive healthcare, all these things. However, as a living working painter, you have to be always doing your work while you are. That’s what makes it a job and not a hobby. So I had to be painting and wanted to be painting even when I was so unwell. And so it’s really interesting to look back on paintings I did when I was quite unwell, and now I see myself in these paintings so much healthier.”
Born in Burlington, Ontario, in 1974, Heather Horton pursued her passion for art while earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature at McMaster University. She also completed a diploma program in interpretive illustration at Sheridan College.
Horton has showcased her artwork in numerous solo and group exhibitions in such as Toronto, Chicago, and Whitehorse. Her contributions to the art world can be found in private, corporate and government collections, including those of the Government of Ontario and the Canadian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
Horton has also appeared on Canada’s Bravo TV series “The Artist’s Life,” where she offered audiences an intimate look into her creative process. Her work also made its way into the critically acclaimed 2018 film “A Simple Favor,” directed by Paul Feig.
The artist and her team had considered other places to host the exhibit; she’s glad a realtor friend suggested Whimsy Pasadena.
“It’s the perfect space in a great area. It’s my favorite area of town,” she said. “So it is kind of interesting and wonderful how that worked out because I’m so close. I’m actually going to be painting in the gallery during the show. We didn’t specifically think this must be in Pasadena, but the fact that it ended up being here is such a great bonus.”
Immersion will be on display at Whimsy Pasadena, located at 40 Mills Pl, from Oct. 14 to 22. Heather will be painting onsite at various times throughout the show. The public is invited to join the opening reception to meet the artist on Saturday, October 14th from 5 – 9pm. RSVP is required via Eventbrite.
For more information, visit www.heatherhorton.com.