Gallery Artist: Tayo Heuser
about the artist
Tayo 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 and Master’s degree from Vermont College. Currently she lives in Providence RI.
Heuser’s most recent work was featured in a solo exhibition at the University of Massachusetts Gallery in New Bedford Ma. 2017-18 and the Jamestown Arts Center in Jamestown, RI in 2016. Previously her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Dedee Shattuck gallery in Westport Ma., the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., the Chateau de Fernelmont in Fernelmont, Belgium, Cynthia Reeves-New England in Hanover NH, the Chazan Gallery in Providence RI, Cade Tompkins Projects in Providence RI, the Roger Williams University Gallery in Bristol RI and the Dorsky Gallery in Brooklyn NY amongst many others.
Heuser’s work is included in numerous public, corporate and private collections. These include The Phillips Collection museum in Washington D.C., the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence RI, Brown University in Providence RI, the Weatherspoon Museum of Art in Greensboro NC, the American Embassy in Jeddha, Saudi Arabia, the Werner Kramarsky Collection in NYC, the Leeds Foundation in Philadelphia, PA, the Progressive Corporation in Cleveland, OH amongst many others.
My aspiration has always been to merge line and color in such a way that does not end in representational imagery but rather opens the door for the poetics of the imagination. My abstractions hover between the need to meticulously render geometric shapes and intuitively express my feelings.
The precision with which my lines are drawn on vertical sheets of paper 80” long and 40” wide engage both my mind and body. I hold my breath as I draw each line and release the breath in order to replenish my nib with ink. My mind rests in a meditative space throughout my process and gains insight into an unconscious world where colors and geometric forms emerge. My drawings aim to represent and communicate the reverberations and energies that are released during these moments of profound solace and quietude.
I use a labor-intensive paper sizing technique from the 1300’s that was used for Tugras and other calligraphic texts during the Ottoman Empire. The 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 dimension. I experiment with handmade paper and inks on a continuous basis.
My paintings reflect the same sensibilities as my drawings but the process differs. I first coat my wooden panel with several layers of gesso sanding between each layer to achieve a smooth finish that will accept my steel nib. I use inks on the polished wooden panels as in the drawings.
My research includes art works from all cultures and time periods that summon the human spirit. It is from these points of confluence that my work takes shape.