Becker’s quiet portraits evoke longing and foreignness with distant glances and delicate expressions. Haunting and expressive, Becker’s emotional subjects are drawn from memory, not from models or photos. The women she creates are distinctly hers, each displaying features of traditional beauty, high cheekbones, large eyes and narrow faces, but none of her drawings are particularly beautiful. Instead, these women express stillness, as if they are too delicate to move or breathe.
With simple gestures and headpieces, scarves or wispy hairstyles, Becker imparts lives and history to her figures. These subtle touches beg the viewer to fill in the story; where did this woman come from, why is she so solemn and alone?
Recently Becker has begun loosening and opening up her style, embracing abstract compositions of portraiture and flora. The combinations of subjects appear purposeful yet random and curious, inspiring viewers to question their connections. Through her imagination, Becker reveals herself a realist with mastery over her representational craft.
Heather Becker earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute in 1989. Her works have been collected by numerous patrons and institutions including the Pritzker Collection and the Rockford Art Museum. In 2002 Becker released her first book, Art for the People: The Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive and WPA Era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools, 1904 – 1943. In 2004 she was awarded Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Illinois by the Small Business Association for her work with the Chicago Conservation Center.