Alexander Heilner is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in photography, video, digital imaging, installation, lighting design, and sculpture. His work has been exhibited, screened, and performed nationally and internationally, from MoMA to Burning Man. In 2012, he won the prestigious Baker Artist Prize and his work was featured at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The same year, Alex’ commissioned digital collages were featured in the new Johns Hopkins Hospital complex, and Baltimore magazine named him the city’s best photographer.
Alex earned his B.A. at Princeton University and his M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has been teaching photography at MICA / The Maryland Institute College of Art since 2003, and currently serves as the Associate Dean of Design and Media at MICA. Previously, Alex taught photography and digital imaging at NYU, as well as film and video production at SVA. He has also served as the director of the photography program at the JCC in Manhattan.
For the past twenty years, most of Alexander Heilner’s artwork has been the result of his ongoing obsession with the integration of the organic and the artificial in all areas of human experience. Much of his work has centered upon landscapes where human development intertwines with natural phenomena. Often this occurs subtly, along the fringes of occupied spaces. But sometimes this collision transpires on a grand (or even grandiose) scale, as people build huge artificial islands or consume entire segments of the earth’s resources.
Since 2007, Heilner has been hiring small planes to explore the unintentional mark-making humans lay across the land, in the form of ever-expanding infrastructure. As the child of an airline employee, he clocked countless hours with his face pressed against the windows of various aircraft, or scrutinizing maps of his next destinations. His aerial images synthesize these practices as he traces the relationships between the abstraction of “drawing” and the very real physicality of the built environment below him.
Heilner’s photographs are striking for their engrossing color and graphic beauty, which encourage viewers to spend time with subjects that represent far more complex conceptual tensions. Recent subjects have included mining operations in Utah, expansive housing developments in Las Vegas, and artificially constructed landscapes in Maryland, Florida, and Dubai. Through these projects his work has been evolving toward a more documentary posture, in which the political, cultural, and economic circumstances of these places have become increasingly central to the meaning of the images.
In addition to his fine art work, Alex works selectively in photojournalism and commercial photography, taking on print and web projects that hold particular interest for him. His work has been featured in National Geographic, JPG, Details, and the website of public radio’s Marketplace. Nearly 200 of Alex’ photographs are featured in the 2010 Encyclopedia of New York City.
To view more of Alexander’s work, please visit his website.