Visual Arts Alumni Heidi Howard '14 and Esteban Cabeza de Baca '14 Present Joint Exhibition at Wave Hill

Mădălina Telea Borteș
November 22, 2023

Until November 26, 2023, the walls of Wave Hill Gardens’ Glyndor Gallery are bursting with color. The gallery is exhibiting paintings by two Visual Arts alumni, Heidi Howard ’14 and Esteban Cabeza de Baca ’14 in a show entitled, Light from Water. 

Both artists explore organic forms, ranging from plant life to bodies of water. “Inspired by the views and vegetation of the Aquatic Garden, several works on display were created at Wave Hill this summer,” the gallery’s press release notes. 

In Cabeza de Baca’s works one sees layers of graffiti marks, loose gestural strokes, minute lines, and a great deal of color. Likewise, in Howard’s works one encounters bright expressions of forms (figures, flowers) and landscapes that pulse with hues bordering on technicolor. 

Artwork by Heidi Howard ’14 and Esteban Cabeza de Baca ’14

Beyond their shared love of pigmentation, Howard and Cabeza de Baca have also collaborated on an array of works in the past. In this iteration of their joint prowess, they created works made en plein air after extensive outdoor observations of the local landscape. 

In a recent review of the show, art critic and historian Elizabeth Buhe noted that the “power of [Howard and Cabeza de Baca’s] conceptual approach creeps up on you slowly as you wind your way through the show’s three galleries… They offer a philosophy of unity and lived reciprocity among living things.” 

Admission to Wave Hill Gardens is free and open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Of Indigenous Chicano ancestry, Cabeza de Baca was raised in California near the Mexico border, while Howard, the child of two artists (Phillips is Howard’s mother), was born and raised in New York City. Currently, Howard and Cabeza de Baca live and work together in Long Island City, Queens. Their individual art practices retain distinct approaches and styles; however, they have spent most of their time painting together since meeting in 2012 as graduate students in Columbia University’s MFA program. In the last two to three years, they have also been making collaborative work together as they have gradually influenced each other’s creative practices. Howard has incorporated plein air, or outdoor observational painting, in their work, and Cabeza de Baca has introduced more figurative elements into his landscape views and sculptural work.