...[Oberheide's] work is not a simple reflection of [St. Michael's]. From it she may get her images, but through her use of them her work reaches out to a more universal humanity and experience. In the simple mobility of outport life she has found greatness.
Excerpt from the essay in Gannets and Tidal Pools exhibition publication, organized by Memorial University Art Gallery, 1978.
Heidi Oberheide was born in Germany in 1943 andmoved to the United States in 1962. Oberheide studied art at Southern Illinois University where she earned a masters of fine arts in drawing and printmaking in 1971. After teaching briefly at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, she moved to Newfoundland and played a leading role in establishing St. Michael's Printshop on the Avalon Pennisula's Southern Shore. In 1983, Oberheide returned to the United States where she now lives and works on the west coast in Palouse, Washington.
Oberheide's art is the result of years practicing a technique that combines drawing, painting and lithography. The subjects of her work usually involve the interaction of forces between nature, humankind and animals. The seacoast was of special interest to Oberheide and with fellow artist Don Wright she often accompanied whale researchers on their field studies. The work that resulted from these experiences often attests to the sense of bewilderment and loss she felt when confronted with phenomena such as whales caught in fishing gear or mass whale beachings.
Among Oberheide's most important work is the Window series, that has been referred to by Kathleen Walker, a reporter for The Citizen in Ottawa in 1978, "...as slices of light and life in an otherwise dark, brooding world." Windows were a significant and constantly evolving element in her work. They first appeared in graphite drawings, positioned alone in the landscape.
Then, as Oberheide started experimenting with photolithography, the windows began reflecting the landscape, while also revealing room interiors with furniture and figures.
Oberheide's work has been exhibited across Canada in traveling exhibitions such as Gannets and Tidal Pools organized by Memorial University Art Gallery, and is included in various private and public collections such as those of the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, The Canada Council Art Bank, the National Gallery of Canada, and Confederation Centre Art Gallery, PEI.