Jeanne Heifetz

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Artist’s Statement

[W]ayfarer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.
— Antonio Machado, Proverbs and Songs 29

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
—Theodore Roethke, The Waking

As a child, I was always afraid of making the wrong decision. Selecting from many possible options was torture unless I could find a convincing rationale for my choice, some external justification beyond my own desire. Fear made me superstitious. I enlisted numerology, mythology, arcane patterns of all sorts to confirm the “rightness” of my decisions.

This body of work confronts decision-making head on. Still craving a system, I borrow one from nature: Plateau’s laws, which govern the branching and growth of many natural forms. Within that system, I improvise, lighting out for the territory without a map. Each drawing grows by slow accretion as I allow myself (or force myself) to make hundreds of tiny sequential decisions.

Working at the micro level, I have no idea of the macro consequences until I step back from the piece. Even then, because I work in ink, I can only move forward, building on what I have already laid down. There’s no turning back. The tiny decisions are irreversible, like scars and other indices of the unidirectionality of our lives. In this way, making the work is like life: a series of incremental choices whose full import we may not know for years.

There is no road: we make the road by walking, and learn by going where to go.

Jeanne Heifetz is an artist and independent curator based in Brooklyn. She has had solo and two-person shows at galleries, nonprofit art centers, and universities in California, Connecticut, Idaho, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon. Her work has also been included in group shows at galleries, universities, and museums across the United States as well as in Italy, Germany, England, France, and Israel. Her drawings have been included in Manifest’s International Drawing Annual and in the curated registry of The Drawing Center. Heifetz holds an A.B. from Harvard and an M.A. from NYU, neither of them in art.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of nine books and chapbooks, including Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her tenth book, Zoom, was awarded the Washington Prize and will be published in 2018. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, and Verse Daily.