Heather Whittlesey


A feminist artist with no strings attached

                 Installations

Tensegrity Series, Sculpture 2014-2015, mixed media (above)


Tensegrity was coined first by R.Buckminster Fuller in the 1960's. He was a leading architect who is known for formulating the popular geodesic dome. His developmental theory of Tensegrity is a property that a structure employs that utilizes continuous tension members and discontinuous compression members.


Jonas: Mosby's Dictionary  of Complementary and Alternatives Medicines (2005)

Heather Whittlesey is a mixed media artist that experiments with a plethora of materials and mediums.  Utilizing 3-d format as a springboard for expressing complex ideas.  All works, even paintings exhibit a mixed media quality and presence.  The art communicates ideas about biological balance and how gender and sexuality influences intrapersonal/interpersonal identity.  There is also contrasting relationship between fragility and strength, as well as a tongue in cheek humor about social and cultural inequities.  These ideas are developed from current feminist ideology.  Current models of feminism are much more sensitive and intricate then previously accepted.  Concerns of feminism today include class disparity and it's relationship with race.  The existance of a gender wage gap and a race wage gap.  The invisible and visible barriers that exist for single parents, access to responsible birth control methods and the acceptance of men being primary caretakers and domestic workers.  These are a few of the subjects at hand and because of their serious tones a light hearted approach is necessary.

Tensegrity describes a physical manifestation of architecture but this phenomena can also be translated into a social context about gender, race and class.   As a contemporary artist I utilize the social tension to interpret the context in which we communicate with each other.  This idea coincides with the third wave of feminism.  Which is not to be confused with previous notions and waves of the philosophy.


The third wave introduces multiple factors of influence in which our lives are lived and perceived by us.  We are by nature very social creatures in which there are many intersections of communication. The idea of tensegrity fits here and is appropriated to compare the intricate nature of who and what we are.