Neo-Decadent

The Art and Opinions of Heidi Celeghin, Aesthete


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Intersections: Clouded Leopard Lamborghini

I just finished this 30 x 24 inch oil painting that is part of my Intersections series. I’m juxtaposing a symbol of our growing consumerist society and a symbol of the rapidly deteriorating natural environment. Both are beautiful but can they coexist in this new world we are creating?

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Red Panda on Zebrawood panel

Today I just finished this oil painting of a Red Panda.

My work has been moving so quickly after I returned from Singapore!  Next up, a landscape / architectural painting.


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Intersections: Panda Taxi

This is the newest painting I have completed for delivery to Forest Rain Gallery in Singapore. It is a 40 x 30 inch oil painting on canvas. In part, it is informed by James Rosenquist’s work.

Intersections: Panda Taxi is a development of my Neo-Decadent aesthetic. By bringing together two radically different elements, the work directly speaks to environmental concerns as well as cultural changes. The intersection of East and West points to globalization and further multicultural exchange, a theme that is very important to me.

Simultaneously, the taxi imposing itself into the environment of the panda relates to growing environmental concerns. As the technological human world encroaches on the wild environment, change is inevitable. This work brings that dissonance to the fore.

It is both beautiful and jarring, a paradox that directly channels the Neo-Decadent.


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Some new paintings headed to Singapore

First, I completed a 15 by 20 inch painting of a Brassolaelia orchid. This is a collaboration with Singaporean photographer Simon Ho.

Second, this weekend I finished my tiger painting for Forest Rain Gallery in Singapore.  It is a 40 x 26 inch oil painting on canvas. The work follows the same Neo-Decadent aesthetic of my chimpanzee painting, Willie.


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Houston Zoo – Haley and Rama

Here are the two drawings I created for the Houston Zoo Jack Hanna event.

The first is of Rama, their Clouded Leopard.  This is a 30 x 22 inch drawing done with watercolors and walnut ink.

Haley, the cougar, is a 14 x 17 inch drawing also with watercolors and walnut ink.


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Houston Zoo – Willie

Here is the second painting for my zoo work so far – Willie the Chimpanzee.  I was referencing traditional portraiture but was also informed by Gustav Klimt’s aesthetic.

This painting is in line with an aesthetic I am creating where I combine abstract design with a trompe l’oeil element, in this case the chimp. It stems from my academic background in Aestheticism and Decadence, where art, as mentioned in the preface to Henry James’ The Spoils of Poynton, ultimately triumphs over reality because of its ability to capture a perfect moment. I was also playing with conventions in portraiture, giving the Chimpanzee an almost human quality as well as a general air of intelligence.


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Houston Zoo – Kito

Here is one of the paintings destined for the Houston Zoo’s conservation gala.  Kito is one of two cheetahs living in the Zoo.

Kito, the Cheetah painting, is informed by nineteenth-century safari and Orientalist paintings. Again, with the Cheetah I am pulling from the trompe l’oeil tradition to highlight how art both re-creates and improves upon life. The obsessive creation of detail relates to a Decadent penchant for design, specifically for the creation of paradoxical space that combines sparse composition with overly-designed elements.  In art there can be a careful order or a controlled chaos that is not possible in reality.