Canadian artist Mark Heine is working on a series of oil paintings inspired by sirens, mythical maidens of the deep. Like his subjects, which are equally beautiful and haunting creatures, Heine’s paintings embody both beauty and feelings of unease. His work has inspired polarizing reactions; some viewers feeling discomfort, while leaving others entranced. Perhaps this feeling of discomfort can be attributed to Heine’s use of tension, as in the way his sirens just barely reach the surface to breathe, or linger above it. Although his premise is based on mythology, it is coupled with a heightened sense of realism. The underwater world is faithfully reproduced in details like light refractions and ripples, while the rhythms of currents can be felt in the continuous flowing fabric that his sirens wear. To Heine, sirens symbolize a connection between the natural world and the nature of mankind. At his website, he writes, “In my story, as in real life, the extinction and pollution we bring, come back to haunt us. Sirens play the staring role in the tale. Their unique characteristic, the Siren’s song, is the conduit for communication between life on land and life at sea. Two separate worlds at odds with each other. ” Heine further explains his concept at his website, which he hopes will inspire a positive change in the way we see and think about our effect on our environment.