patricia heal

September 21-October 30, 2011

The Robin Rice Gallery announces Dartmoor, a solo exhibition of photography by Patricia Heal. The opening reception will be held September 21st, 2011. The show runs through October 30th, 2011.

Patricia Heal's 8th show at the Robin Rice Gallery marks a departure from her previous figurative work with a visual essay celebrating the wild ponies of Dartmoor National Park in Devon, England. The dedicated exhibit reflects Patricia's life-long love affair with the area and its inhabitants—the semi-feral native ponies that have roamed the moors for centuries.

The work represents a conscious shift to provide a respite from the modern world and create a sense that one has stumbled upon a treasured possession. With a nod to Peter Beard and Deborah Turbeville, each photograph, whether from negative or digital, is printed on canvas that has been distressed to take on a worn, slightly damaged texture and then stitched to another piece of canvas with horsehair. Through tearing, staining with archival inks, charcoal and graphite, the canvasses take on a look and feel of a valued relic from the past only now rediscovered by the viewer. There will be no editions as they are truly one-of-a-kind.

Born and raised in the region, Dartmoor was an important part of Patricia's childhood experience. The magical ponies and misty, granite flecked moorlands always held a special place in her imagination. She has recently been inspired by the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT), whose mission it is to save the indigenous pony from extinction. It is estimated now that there are as few as 1500 ponies kept on the moors.

In the invitational image, Lord Byron “—Indigenous Dartmoor Pony”, we see a close-up of a pony against a distressed canvas background that takes on the elegant look and feel of tapestry, framing the pony's powerful profile and highlighting its mane.

In another image, “Sherberton Crossroads”, a dappled grey pony gallops across the terrain. The pony's elongated shape blends perfectly with the horizon, a mix of sparse, flat rock and low brownish green vegetation that gives way to a blue expanse of sky. It's a seamless integration of the statuesque horse and nature.

The 30 individual canvases of different shapes and sizes are presented in collage formation on one wall. Heal sees the series as one large complete work. On the facing wall, Heal's video installation of the ponies roaming wild in their environment adds yet another layer to the show. It is surrounded by text of a poem by Emily Bronte and an article about Dartmoor written by Andrew Price.

The exhibit will also be shown in London next year, further raising awareness of these wild ponies who embody freedom and strength despite their rare breed status. Steven Spielberg's “Warhorse” was shot in Dartmoor last year and will be released later this fall. He says of the area:

I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I did while filming “Warhorse” on Dartmoor.” —Steven Spielberg, Enjoy Dartmoor Magazine.

Patricia Heal was born in England where she studied art and theater. After receiving her degree in photography, she moved to New York City. Currently, Heal works for leading editorial and commercial clients and shares a studio with her husband, fellow photographer Anthony Cotsifas and their bulldog, Moses. She has received numerous awards, including the Society of Publication Designers Award for Photography, the Communication Arts Photography Award, a Nikon/PDN Award, and a Fuji Film Promotion Award. This is Patricia Heal's eighth solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery. To view the exhibition, please visit