Heather Accurso’s most recent mixed-media drawing series, World Situation, is on exhibit at Ann Arbor Art Center in downtown Ann Arbor MI. Accurso’s series features the physiognomy of infants, not with expected expressions of innocence, but rather visualized as contemporary angels within the backdrop of the violence of our world situation.
In each piece, infant heads float in space with no body attached. In one piece an infant head sprouts an atomic mushroom cloud. In many others, the heads are attached to surreal “umbilical cords” that morph into botanical projections and indeterminate organic and inorganic forms. The artist views these cords as conduits to a better world or path to healing.
Despite a feeling of isolation and despair communicated through Accurso’s richly somber color palate, and the juxtaposition of dismembered baby heads with images of war, natural disaster and exploitation, the images are not at all repelling. The drawings are exercised with great skill and the use of color is both subtle and luminescent, imparting an other-worldly quality or mysterious invitation of possibility, transformation and renewal.
Accurso began the series while residing in Cologne, Germany from 2003 to 2008. She believes that living in a foreign country greatly influenced her work, not just in terms of her exposure to the remarkable history of German art and architecture but also to the intense political dialogue on issues of war.
There is definitely a post-9/11 air to every image, carefully registered against fragmented and irregular surfaces that set the atmosphere as rubble and debris, testimonies of lost innocence, somber futures and unresolved pain.
~Gabrielle Pescador, a writer from Michigan.
(Images: Heather Accurso, Epiphany, Watercolor, Color Pencil, Graphite on Stonehenge Paper, 17 x 20 inches; High Rise/Plane, Watercolor, Color Pencil, Graphite on Stonehenge Paper, 21 x 17 inches; Fighter Jet, Watercolor, Graphite, Color Pencil on Stonehenge Paper, 19 x 30 inches; Courtesy of the artist and The Ann Arbor Art Center)