Using sinuous folds of draped fabric as her medium, Heinlein creates surprising structures full of elegance and moxie that invite the viewer to look beneath the surface. Swathed around hidden buttresses, assuming shapes ranging from quirky to austere, Heinlein’s carefully choreographed cloth challenges our perceptions of traditional sculpture. Fabric is deeply rooted in our lives as it both adorns and conceals, and Heinlein’s sumptuous materials, bunched-and-gathered shapes and flirtatious jolts of color playfully navigate the line between preserving mystery and revealing unknown pleasures.
I create simple yet theatrical structures that generate interplay between the effect of gravity, tension and movement, using cloth and other readily available building materials. Cloth is a compelling material to me because of its capability to be strong, supple and fluid. I use fabric because of these physical properties, but also because of its optical qualities—its opacity and color. In one way, I think of my work being like a physical painting or drawing. Straight lines are rendered in space with tension and weight on a colored strap. Brushlike gestures are evidenced through large gathered and wrinkled swaths. Each piece is structured as choreography between material and gravity, built to perform in its own particular way, but an element of randomness is always at play. Cloth has the ability to be both vague and suggestive, because it can really only partially conceal what it is covering. Just a few materials—a couple of 2 x 4’s, a strap, and a curtain of fabric, depending on how they are positioned, can convey vulgarity, elegance or solemnity. My work is about mystery and obscurity—what is not fully seen, and transparency—what is physically obvious.