“This started as long exposure photographs on film that traced the paths of moving lights and has progressed to real-time projections,” says Hepner.
A native Pittsburgher who grew up in Carrick, Hepner has a studio in Lawrenceville and is a professor of integrative arts at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport. Her artwork has appeared on building facades in Beechview and on the side of a T light rail car.
Artist residencies have taken her on a canoe trip down the Yukon River deep into northern Canada and to an island in Norway. But it was at the Carnegie Museum of Art where her life and art came full circle.
“I took the Saturday Art Connection classes as a kid, where we were able to learn to make art using the work on display … an hour to do so before the public was let into the museum. Being able to go through those same galleries with my own art on a carpeted dolly being wheeled to the exhibition space was something that I had always dreamed about. I had a similar feeling when I got an email in December telling me that my work was now on view in a new exhibition that is up through June, Controlling the Chaos, in the Scaife Galleries.”
At Bakery Square, Hepner plans to start her project with input from the kids at the Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh and Lincoln PreK-5.
“I will be doing some engagement with the students in the fall when hopefully we can be in person, and that will allow them to do some hands-on light painting using a 6-foot-tall light stick, which kids and even adults can get very excited about,” says Hepner. “It makes them feel like they’re in ‘Star Wars.’”
She’s hoping to combine digital prints on metal with vinyl overlays to create works that will be featured on two 10-foot-by-18-foot façade panels on the new building, as well as on the glass windows between them.
“I plan on working with light in some way so that the work will change from daylight to evening viewing,” she says. “It will be exhibited through the fall and winter months, so illuminating the dark season will allow light to be featured in the project.”