It may be abstract, but Christine Hiebert’s art expresses her connection to nature

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Some drawings move across the page as a dancer would across a stage. Abstract art has a way of conceptually relating to the world around us, which is part of the charisma of Christine Hiebert’s work. 

Using charcoal, graphite, dirt, ink and tape, she explores the marks they make and the dynamics of composition through lines, which speak to both the direction and energy on the page.

“I make work that is representational,” Hiebert said. “Certain kinds of compositions can look compressed.”

Hiebert compared the artistic relationship of lines not only to people but to the connection furniture has to residents inside a home as well as to the space itself.

Her pieces at the Hudson River Museum are about exploring the marks in her art focusing not on the representation of the mark itself, but more on their relationship. Her exhibit, “Force Field: Drawings by Christine Hiebert,” is now on display until Sept. 9. 

However, the Yonkers location is not the only place that holds Hiebert’s work. Her drawings also can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Hiebert also has had her work exhibited internationally in Germany and Belgium. In addition to Europe, she has displayed her art around the country, including Texas, Maine and Massachusetts. 

Blue tape’s appeal

An artist for more than three decades, at times Hiebert puts down her charcoal and uses colorful paint and creates wall installations and pieces using blue painter’s tape and blank space.

The appeal of blue tape is not only in its bright and alerting color for Hiebert, but also in how disposable and transient it is. 

“If I put the thinnest line of blue paint on the wall, you’re going to see it,” Hiebert said. “It just jumps off the wall. You can put it down and move it, and there’s this freedom.” 

Growing up, Hiebert spent some of her childhood on her grandfather’s farm in Nebraska raising cattle. There she learned to appreciate stillness and open spaces. As an artist, Hiebert explores nature and the language of the line.

Many media

“I use a lot of different mediums, and when I draw, I send that line into space and I do a lot of erasing,” Hiebert said. “I’m in conversation with the drawing.” 

However before Hiebert began connecting and conversing with her charcoal, she attended the Tyler School of Art in Rome. After that, Hiebert earned a degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and grabbed her master’s in 1988 from Brooklyn College. 

Today the Swiss-born artist — who was raised in Pennsylvania — lives in Brooklyn, arguably the most artsy borough in New York City. Hiebert observes the creative community there, but doesn’t disregard the financial pressures that exist for residents. It is no secret New York is an expensive city to live in, especially for someone making a living off of their art.

Every once in a while Hiebert travels outside of the city to escape urban life, and that’s where she gets a lot of her paintings done.

“I tell my students all the time, New York City is great, but if you can’t work it out and work well, go someplace else,” Hiebert said. “I tell them not to worry about showing too much in the beginning. First focus on the work.”

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