Tayo Heuser opens an exhibition of new work at Reeves Contemporary with an artist’s reception on Thursday, June 12th from 6-8 p.m. The exhibitions run through July 25th.
Tayo Heuser’s mandala-like drawings are a meditation on time as well, but focusing here on the art of standing still, of being in one place. The works themselves require a month or so of work – the preparation of the paper alone is a three-week effort. By applying her masterful drawing to the circle – and circle within circles – she is asking the viewer to stand where they are and occupy their space, however they find themselves.
Heuser is a formalist. Her austere and beautifully crafted drawings are contemplative studies in graphic shape, concentric shadings, and tonal range of color. Inspired by the papers on which religious texts were inscribed in the 1600s, Heuser treats her papers with wheat paste and layers of alum mixed with egg white, which is then highly burnished to achieve a surface that evokes the richness and luster of the Koran texts.
In other recent works, she writes memories, regrets, and wishes on paper, and then obliterates the recorded secret longings with drawing media – pencil, ink, etc., turning the recorded memories into a drawing. Her drawing, then, covers over the very memories that often prevent one from being able to ‘stand still’. Viewers are invited to sit at Heuser’s table and write their regrets and aspirations as part of an in-gallery art piece.
Heuser was born in Washington D.C., and grew up in Africa and Europe. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI and her MFA from Vermont College. Heuser’s most recent drawings will be featured in her upcoming solo shows in January 2008 at the Center for Contemporary Non-objective Art and the H29 gallery in Brussels, Belgium.
Her work has been shown throughout the US, including the David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence, RI; the Elvehejem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI; the University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach, CA: and the Weatherspoon Gallery, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Heuser's work is in numerous public and corporate collections, including the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence, R. I., the Werner Kramarsky Collection in New York, NY, the Progressive Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, the Sanyo Corporation in New York, NY, and the Lerner Corporation in Washington D.C.