Exhibitions 2017: Tayo Heuser: Paper Constructs

Exhibitions 2017: Tayo Heuser: Paper Constructs
Tayo Heuser: Paper Constructs

November 24, 2017 - January 31, 2018

Tayo Heuser: Paper Constructs gallery space

Reception: AHA Night, Thursday, December 14, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Artist Talk 7:00 PM
Closing reception: Wednesday, January 31st, 6-7.30 PM

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American artist, raised in Africa and Europe, Tayo Heuser's solo exhibition at UMass Dartmouth University Art Gallery in Downtown New Bedford presents a fascinating collection of abstracted works made from paper and on paper. The artist combines traditional techniques, multi-cultural influences, and contemporary artistic approaches.

Heuser’s large scale drawings on hand made paper are invitations into the universe of geometric forms, lines and color. Their surfaces seem to breathe quietly as they invite you into the artist's meditative and delicate drawing process described by Ms. Heuser as a way to “gain insight into an unconscious world where colors and geometric forms emerge.” These drawings “aim to represent and communicate the reverberations and energies that are released during moments of profound solace and quietude.”

As a daughter of a diplomat, Ms. Heuser was surrounded by the visual language of African countries such as Tunisia, Libya, the Sudan and the Ivory Coast. This experience has brought an unusual sensibility to her work. She uses a labor-intensive paper sizing technique from the 1300’s that was used for Tugras and other calligraphic texts during the Ottoman Empire. This process includes egg white, alum and burnishing with a small agate stone, resulting in a beautiful sheen whereby the ink sits on top of the paper creating a bit of multi-dimensionality.

Tayo Heuser's recent body of work took this approach even further as she created sculptures from paper. Unlike traditional sculptures, these objects are very light, yet nonetheless carry the memory of the wood used to create them. Wrapping handmade abaca paper around a wooden support, the artist carefully cuts the paper, releases the wooden form and finally, reattaches the seams. The large installation, Window, offers a sublime wall of windows on the gallery's largest wall, drawing the viewer’s eyes and leading them to reflect on his or her own state of mind.

Her new sculptures, shown here for the first time, were created during her paper-making residency in Women’s Studio Workshop in NYC. This experience has freed her geometric forms to literally 'leave the frame' and to exist independently, while resting directly on the gallery wall. Similar technique appears in her series of shields, which takes handmade and hand tinted abaca paper and mounts them to hand molded acrylic, leaving the surface appearing like a wave in the ocean with the artwork unwilling to stay flat on the wall. The exhibition also includes a series of intimate drawings. The closing reception is planned for Wednesday, January 31st, 6-7:30 pm after the workshop for UMass Dartmouth students sponsored by the Papermaking Club.

Curated by Viera Levitt, UMass Dartmouth Gallery Director