Totnes Bridge

oil painting of the Totnes bridge A painting of the Bridge in Totnes while the river gently floods. This painting is currently hanging at the Fat Lemon Cafe in Totnes. 2 foot square.

Exhibitions Paintings

The Audio for the Landscape Resounds Paintings

Including the sound with the paintings was new for me. If landscape painting traditionally places the ‘subject’ as the audience or the painter, I think the sounds helped to create ‘subjects’ in the paintings… “Resounding Landscapes”

Click the images to enlarge. The audio for each painting is directly below.


Oil Painting by Noel Hefele

Make-shift Shelter

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Buckham’s Park Barn

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Lime Kiln Copse

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Old Redhill Quarry

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Dart River

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Aller Park Swimming Pool

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Old Dartington Nursery

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Totnes East Gate

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Old Dairy Crest

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Landscape Resounds: Research Photographs

These photos are the ‘b-sides’ of some of the landscape explorations leading up to the exhibition.

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Art Paintings

The Sitting Cows

Sitting cows in Dartington oil painting by Noel HefeleThis oil painting on canvas measures 2′ x 2′

When I first arrived in Dartington, I was told that the cows sit down when it is going to rain. I was unable to directly prove this during my time here, but it seems possible. It brings up interesting questions about the sensory perception of animals. What do they know that is outside our immediate grasp?

The cows have been a significant presence here at Dartington. When I first arrived in the fall I realised they had a pattern that I would learn. Somedays they would be in one field, and then others they would be several fields across the way, moved by those invisible Devon farmers (it took me over nine months to see a farmer interacting with cows) Or were these a different herd of cows? One day, they disappeared for the winter. In the springtime, they were back, only smaller and younger looking.

The cows are absolutely massive creatures with incredibly squared off hind quarters. They are very skittish as well. I remember once walking across a field through a herd of about twenty. They nervously parted and kept their large glassy eyes on me. Suddenly I was surrounded. Cows in all directions;  scared of me while I was thinking “Wow, these cows could very easily kill me,” cautiously continuing through the herd. Cows have a long and complicated relationship with humans. There are estimatedly 1.3 billion cows in the world today.

Art Currently Showing Paintings

Currently Showing: Dart River and Windwhistle Cottage

Dart River and Windwhistle Cottage - Noel HefeleThis oil painting measure 4 feet square.

If you are in the Totnes area this August, stop by the lovely Fat Lemons Cafe on Ticklemore Street. In my humble opinion, they make the best cappuccino in Totnes. They are exhibiting paintings from my current work on a rotating schedule. The Dart River has been on display since August 4th.

This painting is a classic landscape take on the Dart, just down river from Totnes. Like most river towns, Totnes owes a good part of its initial prosperity to the trade that the river enabled. It’s now been roughly 15 years (or is it 11?) since the last trade ship made it up the river waters to Totnes. The river has made a transition to recreational use. Late one night last month, I was listening to the jumping fish from the banks of  Vire Island in town. The river was almost boiling with jumping fish. What will this recreational future for the river bring? Will the fish still jump at night in 50 years?

There is a ruined cottage called “Windwhistle,” depicted as a paint smudge on a distant hill.

Art Paintings

Buckham’s Park Barn

buckhams-farm-dartingtonThis oil painting measure 4 feet square.

I discovered Buckham’s Park Barn on the Dartington Estate during my walks. It is a late 18th century ruin of what I assume was an agricultural building. The ruin has been surrounded with a portable metal fence since I’ve first come across it.

This was the first larger painting that I started after the Landscape Thinks Itself in Us show. I was committed to continue to look for landscape sites dealing with absence or the forgotten.  Buckham’s Park Barn was an obvious choice.

I found the name for the building on a map that the school provided.  The map labeled “Out of Bounds” areas for student projects and became a critical tool in my explorations and thoughts about landscape in Devon. I read about ruins as spaces outside of the dominant ordering systems and realized how much the concepts we carry in our heads about these spaces matter as much as the spaces do. I went to every single out of bounds location on that map, several of which have become paintings.

Although ruins have been assigned as useless space, the objects within them have a more ambiguous status, for whilst they occur in that space they have not been specifically sorted and classified into piles ready for dumping, and thus possess an intermediate quality which renders them ripe for re-appropriation. They are excess matter which has not been disposed and therefore not consigned to fixity through annulment. Ruins contain excess, wast with which people can construct meaning, stories and practices, objects which possess ‘unforseen value and status insofar as they lack contour … precisely because they are fluid as well as opaque and resistant to fixity'(Nevill and Villeneuve, 2002: 5)

Tim Edensor in Industrial Ruins:Spaces, Aesthetics and Materiality

Can a painting of a ruin be thought of as an “object within” it? Is there such a thing as an economy of visual use?

A planning application claims Buckham’s Park Barn is within an “Area of Great Landscape Value.” Interestingly, Dartington Trust is looking to develop the site into a studio / residency for a fellowship program. The initial planning permission was granted in October of 2006. They had 3 years to show material progress towards development. Dartington Trust showed an invoice dated the 21st of September for an access road.  The access road was enough to satisfy the council.  But it would appear that the Trust is in no hurry to develop the site.

Art Paintings

New Image for Old Dartington Nursery Painting

Photographing paintings is incredibly difficult. Yesterday I photographed the 11 paintings from the Landscape Resounds show. I used a Digital SLR camera and shot in RAW file format.  Above is an example of the newer images. To the right is an older photograph of the same painting. I think it is an improvement, but it is amazing how difficult it is to get it perfect.

At the show, I met someone who has known this space for 50 years and has seen it derelict twice. She told me the layout of the buildings on the site.

In Progress Videos

“It’s what they don’t say” a choreography video trailer.

I am performing in a choreographed piece by Marina Smoulevits at the Ultimate dART Dartington Ma show. “It’s what they don’t say,” utilizes two human sized piles of clothes to explore, through movement, the complexities and banalities of a relationship between two individuals.

Marina writes,

A duet performance.

A man A woman
A mountain A struggle
A dance A smile A skirt Around
A life Two lives
A mirror A sound
A route Two routes
Side by side, Hand in hand, Shoulder to shoulder

A shirt A jacket A coat
A burden A worry A drop
A loss A gain A game
Your jacket my shirt

Becoming fully aware of


A woman A man

It’s whAt they don’t sAy

I am very excited about this piece. We have been rehearsing rather regularly for about six months now. It’s given me the time and space to think about the role of improvisation, structure and movement and how these aspects relate to painting. Movement and performance have been the unexpected yet fertile areas of study this year at Dartington, especially in considering it in social/environmental contexts.

In Progress

Leisure, Leftover: A painting in progress

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This photo is from the end of April.  As part of my Ultimate dART exhibit this July, I’ve continued to paint 4 foot square canvases of places I find in and around Totnes.  I will post occasional progress photos when I can. I am planning to exhibit 11 of these canvases, with sounds recorded from the sites depicted playing from small speakers behind the paintings.

Aller Park is a location on the Dartington Estate that was originally used by the Dartington Hall School and has not been used for the past 10 years, apparently because of an asbestos problem in the building.  The pool is in close proximity and has been the site of some interesting projects. Such sites are fascinating to me. The pool is obviously no longer a pool, but it isn’t important or valuable enough to transition into something else. Will Dartington Trust repair the pool?  or will they bury it?

Dartington Estate is transition rapidly, and is not without controversy. Dartington College of Arts is closing—”moving” to University College Falmouth this summer, but, it has become clear that you cannot “move” a college.  It is a closing. A particular land use ends.  What value systems inform the new land use?

Exhibitions Videos

Ultimate dART. Dartington MA SHOW 2010. My video.

A bunch of the MA students are making short videos to advertise the upcoming MA show at Dartington College of Arts this July 20-22nd.

I took a time lapse video of the beginnings of a painting at 30 second intervals. I believe there are 24 frames per second, translating to roughly 12 minutes represented by every second. 5 Seconds an hour? I used the ambient noises recorded in the studio to construct the background track (except for the piano at the end).

I will be exhibiting this painting, along with many others. I’m also planning to put some of my original music behind the paintings. It could be quite cool.