The Shape of Space

June 2, 2004 - June 26, 2004
Central Library, Grand Lobby
The Shape of Space: Part II
Photographs by Michael Heffernan

Gritty industrial images are captured with remarkable beauty and sensitivity in the photographs of David Verrico and Michael Heffernan. BPL is delighted to show their work in a two-part exhibition series, The Shape of Space, Parts I & II.

See The Shape of Space: Part I, photographs by David Verrico.

The Exhibition

Photographer Michael Heffernan has been wandering the streets of Brooklyn in amazement ever since he moved here from Manhattan in 1998. Ready with a camera in hand, he is continually and gratefully surprised by the beauty he finds here — from Bushwick to Floyd Bennett Field — though often in unconventional forms. Under Heffernan’s artistic gaze, derelict oil tanks, vacant lots and abandoned buildings all stand out as urban gems.

Artist Statement

If you are standing in front of my work, all I want is your eyes and an open heart. Just be still, no thought required. I've wandered through Brooklyn since moving here from "The City" in 1998. I am continually and gratefully surprised by beauty, from derelict oil tanks to vines crawling up a building. I have no idea what will speak to me while I am out wandering, from Bushwick to Floyd Bennett Field, but being open and not knowing what "it" should look like seems to allow a mysterious voice to say, "stop here." – M. Heffernan

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Michael Heffernan began photographing in Atlanta while working as a staff member for the United Farm Workers Union. In 1973, he moved to New York City and soon found work in a small black and white photo lab operating out of photographer Eugene Smith’s 6th Avenue loft in the flower district at 28th Street in Manhattan. Throughout the seventies, he was a staff member and in-house photographer for an independent social service agency and its self-titled “Everything for Everybody” newspaper. In 1998, he moved to Brooklyn. Mr. Heffernan has been in numerous group shows and a one-man show at the Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook. In 2003 I was awarded a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He shoots primarily with a large format 4x5-view camera and does all film processing and printing in his Brooklyn darkroom.

“But always in the midst of the decaying rubble the universal shines through still, and it is there, out beyond the categories of thought and reason, in the hidden rhizome, that the true artist has his ground.”
– Paul Caponigro

Mr. Heffernan's exhibition is supported by a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.