Feigen Contemporary Gallery: Elizabeth Huey

acrylic and oil on wood panel
53 1/4 x 101 inches

Article by Don Porcella in New York

Elizabeth Huey's recent paintings on view at Feigen Contemporary Gallery in Chelsea continue to explore the effect architecture had on the mentally ill who were living in American institutions in the 1800’s. Her show, THE KIRKBRIDE PLAN, owes its title to Thomas Story Kirkbride a key figure in the science of Psychiatry. His concept that architecture should provide moral or intellectual instruction laid the foundation for asylum construction in the United States.


Huey and I both have degrees in psychology and to me her paintings are about psychological space. Her work is a perfect view into the mind. We churn images in our mind trying to digest what we see, hear, feel, etc… Using a collage-like approach, Huey presents a mixed bag of visual information. We see that through mental illness we have a more accurate picture of how the mind processes imagery, experiences, etc…

Burned Over District

In Huey’s work one clearly sees these visual and mental conflicts playing out in a somewhat grand but purposefully disjointed narrative. Much the same way one might imagine a mentally ill person trying to deal with their very confusing environment.

Huey’s work offers us insight into mental illness and how we deal with it in our country, but more importantly she shows us the power and beauty of the mind trying to comprehend its surroundings.


Elizabeth Huey
Main Gallery
September 14 - October 28, 2006
Feigen Contemporary
535 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011
Tel 212.929.0500 Fax 212.929.0065