Tuesday, December 20, 2016

“Prodigal Son: The Return of Douglas Heine”

   A new exhibit opening on Saturday, January 14, 2017 will feature the work of Vallejo-born sculptor Douglas Heine, who is returning to Vallejo for his first full-scale showing in his hometown.
Douglas Heine was born in Vallejo in 1935 and graduated from Vallejo High School in 1953. His high school years were tumultuous and with his group of friends that some considered a gang, things often got pretty wild. He went on to attend Mare Island’s Apprentice School, as did many young Vallejo men of that time. Heine helped build reactors on nuclear submarines but visualized something else for his life’s work. While working night shifts at Mare Island, Heine attended California College of Arts and Crafts and Solano College during the day. Working at the shipyard, he learned the value of working with tools and developed skill in working with his hands. Heine had taken classes from DorothyHerger at Vallejo High School and was pleased to again study with Herger at Solano College. Through his study with Herger, Heine realized his passion in life was to work with his hands making art. He continued studying art while upholding the responsibilities of family life after marrying his sweetheart from Vallejo High School, Judy Anderson. Heine soon pursued work at UC Berkeley and moved the family to Berkeley at age 30.
     At UC Berkeley, Heine worked with Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez at the Space Science Laboratory.  He was part of the team that crafted scientific experiments for high-altitude balloons that would study cosmic particles. After a decade in that heady company, he met Professor Harold Paris at a meeting of Experiments with Art and Technology and was offered work in the art department to establish a plastics shop. No funding developed for plastics, but Heine was soon managing the process of bronze casting at UC Berkeley’s foundry with artist Peter Voulkos.
   Heine traveled to Carrara, Italy and visited the marble-carving studio of sculptor Manuel Neri, who encouraged him to try his hand at carving marble. After spending time in Studio Nicoli, Carlo Nicoli encouraged him to bring students from the U.S. and teach workshops   in marble-carving. For sponsorship, Heine approached the administration of UC Berkeley’s Extension “Travel Abroad” program, and for the following six years led an annual marble-carving workshop in Carrara.
    Heine worked with a consortium of universities and for Boston College to study mueon interaction. He traveled to Italy to work in the insulating caves of the Gran Sasso Mountains near the city of L’Aquila, not far from Rome. During this year of scientific study, he continued his study and the craft of carving marble.
    Heine developed his art in the Berkeley studio shared with fellow sculptor Jorge Duron. Originally from Mexico, Duron encouraged him to teach drawing workshops in the colonial city of San Miguel de Allende. Heine drew students from the U.S. to workshops every year for ten years. During this same time, he taught figurative clay workshops in Berkeley. He continued his work at UC Berkeley, this time in the Astrophysics Department, working with George Smoot, winner of the Nobel Prize for the experiment Cosmic Background Explorer.
    After many years of work at UC Berkeley and teaching workshops, he took early retirement and  began to focus full time on his art in his West Berkeley studio. He has shown his art internationally and locally. Heine’s public installations grace the City of Orinda, Solano College, St. Hilary’s in Tiburon, and the Embarcadero BART station. After an absence of fifty years the prodigal son returns to his roots.
    Heine is pleased to return to the city of his birth, Vallejo, to share his life’s pursuit of art via the multiple media of marble, bronze, aluminum, paint, and tapestry.