Installation detail, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
handmade and tinted abaca paper, acrylic, ink: 60 x 40 x 9 inches
American, b. 1958
Tayo Heuser’s recent work with ink washes of siena and burgundy provide the subtle ground on top of which delicate circles float and hover. Natural pigments and colors from the earth are used throughout the work which adds to the glowing light. Though the earthy tones in the work suggest soil and rock, the title of one such work, Altair, is derived from the Arab an-nasr aṭ-ṭā’ir or “flying eagle.” Altair is one of the brightest stars visible to the naked eye and lies in the constellation Aquila. Other work includes a drawing with ropes set in a celestial background that Heuser has titled Astrolabe, an instrument historically used by astronomers to locate and predict the positions of the Sun, Moon Stars and Planets. In the Islamic world Astrolabes were used for Qibla to calculate the direction that Muslims should face during prayers. In this drawing the ropes represent renewal of ideas, dreams and knowledge.
In her work for The Phillips Collection (2009-10), Tayo Heuser showcased her fascination with handmade paper and the process of drawing. A collective cross between drawing, handmade paper, painting and sculpture, the work is layered with colored abaca and linen papers and then layered again with drawing and stenciled papers. The overall effect is a living, breathing drawing. Heuser brings her exquisite drawing ability to the fore along in this elegant work.
Tayo Heuser has exhibited her work internationally in Brussels, New York and Washington, DC. Heuser’s work was on view at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC (November 19, 2009 through October 31, 2010). The exhibition, curated by Vesela Sretenovic, Curator of Contemporary Art, was shown within the context of the “Intersections” exhibition series at the museum. The title of Heuser’s exhibition, Pulse, represented her direct response to the Mark Rothko paintings in The Phillips Collection.