Heather Horton’s ‘Immersion’ Exhibition in Pasadena Delves Deep into Personal Triumphs and Artistic Depths

Published on Dec 18, 2023

Heather Horton recently celebrated the success of her “Immersion” exhibition at Whimsy Pasadena in October, where an astounding 60% of the showcased paintings were purchased on opening night. The Canadian artist said she was immensely satisfied with the turnout that included friends, established collectors, new collectors and people who had traveled from surrounding towns to attend.

Horton, who recently relocated to Pasadena, concluded her week-long exhibition on Oct. 22. The exhibit showcased over 30 oil paintings, a number of them reflecting the artist’s personal challenge of undergoing major spinal surgery this year. It’s an exhibition about embracing the gift of greater health mentally and physically. On opening night, even her most-prized piece, “Fusion,” was sold.

“One of my favorite experiences was selling my favorite painting, ‘Fusion,’ to an incredibly benevolent collector,” she said. “Knowing such an amazing person now owns that painting is beyond gratifying.”

Horton organized the exhibition without a commercial gallery’s involvement, which naturally has pros and cons. For her, the rewarding nature of the exhibit outweighed any of the initial challenges.
At the end of the day I learned a lot about the business end of it all, and how creatvity and the art world intersect and can work together, which was great.

Horton said she painted on-site for three days during the exhibit, and engaging with visitors who could watch her process, proved to be a unique aspect of the event. The opportunity to interact with art enthusiasts as well as people strolling around downtown who saw the gallery and stopped in, enhanced the overall experience and made even fonder of the city.

In addition to her immersion in the local art scene, Horton is participating in the Lunar Codex Project, a curated archive of contemporary art, writing, music, film, audio and video recordings and more, in time capsules launched to the Moon. Horton’s artworks will be among a cache of over 30,000 pieces by global artists that will journey to the moon. The project is led by Dr. Samuel Peralta, a semi-retired physicist and art collector from Canada who’s also Horton’s friend.

“He’s an amazing person, physicist, poet, writer, and he is the founder of the Lunar Codex,” Horton said. “He conceived of it, did all that legwork and he also curated all the work that’s on it, a massive undertaking. So that I’m very proud to be a part of.”

The launch was originally scheduled for Christmas eve, but NASA has pushed it to between Jan. 8 and Jan. 11. It will take about a month to get to the moon.

In the future, Horton plans to extend the essence of “Immersion” into upcoming exhibitions, continuing her exploration of water paintings and portraiture.

As an artist, Heather Horton draws inspiration from various emotional themes. For her underwater paintings, she finds serenity and relaxation, using them as a medium to unwind and enjoy the process of creation.

“Honestly, the underwater paintings are usually pretty specific,” she said. “They’re quite serene, they’re rarely turbulent, they are a place of quietude. They’re my ‘happy place.’ “I’m happier in water than I am on land. It’s a place for me to let go and go within.”

On the other hand, Horton’s autobiographical pieces, such as self-portraits or portraits of significant people in her life, display a more diverse emotional range. These works are often deeply personal, reflecting poignant aspects of her life, such as memories of her mother who lives with dementia.

“I go to the water to be held by something that is greater than me. Water has a wisdom to it, and I love witnessing that. That’s what these paintings are about,” Horton said. “And the autobiographical ones I paint because they’re so emotional. It’s not an aversion. It’s a conscious choice to paint that which is acute, immediate, and cut to one’s quick. Painting is a perfect tool to process your humanity.

Reflecting on her artistic journey and emotional depth within her art, Horton highlighted her aspirations to move and inspire viewers, encouraging budding artists to engage with local art communities and pursue opportunities for exhibiting their work.

“I would say if you’re in school, even if you’re not, start working towards a portfolio of 10-20 of your best paintings and also join local and national art organizations. If there’s a Pasadena Art Association, I would love to join that,” Horton said. “And I think it’s important for people to interact with paintings in person, if possible, when it’s safe to do so, and to have peers, and to have your work hanging with that of other people. It’s really important.”

“For artists just heading out into their careers, I would recommend talking to galleries, see what other artists are doing out there that are similar to you and different from you,” she said. “Perhaps approach a gallery that seems to align with your ethos and how you express yourself.” Eventually every artist finds their stride. It always comes back to the work. To the doing of what we love. Our craft. As Georgia O’Keeffe once said, “The days you work are the best days.” So very true.

To know more about Heather Horton and her work, visit http://heatherhorton.com.

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