Stephanie Chefas Projects is pleased to present The Hysterics, a solo exhibition featuring new works by California artist Heather Day. The Hysterics opens on October 19 and will remain on view through November 23, 2019.

Building upon the spontaneous gestures and vivid colors found in Abstract Expressionism, Day approaches each canvas as a means to explore her own personal narrative. Every work bridges thought and emotion through the lens of synesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second pathway.  

Day recounts, “When I’m experiencing heightened emotion, I see blurs of lush color in my peripheral vision, basically my mind interprets emotion as color. To me, it’s really there–as if I’m holding a colored filter over part of my vision. Looking straight ahead, my sight is unaffected but in the peripheries, there are rich washes of cyan, burnt orange, phthalo blues, and fuchsia.”

As the title suggests, The Hysterics is a reference to Day’s process of mark-making. Her process demands motion, requiring her entire body as she pours and pushes paint across the canvas. The canvases are subsequently drenched with water, enabling an element of vulnerability that remains essential to her work. Acting quickly, Day adds marks to the canvas and thereby allows each gesture to inform the next. An eternal dance between control and chaos ensues, climaxing with a unique and vivid creation.

“It’s moving, it’s rapid, and you can’t always predict what’s going to happen. I’m pouring the paint, I’m manipulating it, and there’s a level of understanding of what might happen as I control the fluidity of the paint or the opacity. Then there’s also the unexpected when I pour a bucket of water and it splashes everywhere.”

The opening reception for The Hysterics will be held at Stephanie Chefas Projects on Saturday, October 19th from 5-8pm. Stephanie Chefas Projects is located in Portland, Oregon at 305 SE 3rd Avenue on the second floor of the Urban Row building. The exhibition will be on view through November 23rd, 2019 and is free and open to the public.


Heather Day lives and works in California. She received a BFA from The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The artist’s work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Seoul, including exhibits at The Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI, and The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MOCA). She was chosen for a residency in 2018 at the Vermont Studio Center and has an upcoming solo exhibition at Fort Wayne Museum of Art in 2020.