There is a pervasive sense of emotional content to this art, a feeling that an inner dialogue has emerged and been reconciled through the very act of creation. The artist ultimately identifies a calm focal point that creates a space for her visual deliberations, and our understanding, to find refuge.
Heuser’s visual vocabulary has been informed by her continued exploration of non- western places and inherently curious nature. Fusing line, color and form, Heuser’s work references countless cultures and histories, with the aim of communicating the physical rhythms and meditative state generated during its creation.
In Heuser’s process the preparation of a paper ground is, in itself, an exercise in patience. It is stretched and stained with wheat starch, then coated with egg white and alum, and finally rubbed with soap and burnished with an agate stone. This method, which Heuser explains was developed used during the Ottoman Empire – and expressed most vividly in calligraphy produces the luminosity underpinning her marks. Once prepared in this manner, the paper is impenetrable. The artist then quills ink onto the surface in what she describes as a meditative process, holding the inhale as the medium meets the paper, and exhaling as she dips her pen. The result of this skillful, elaborate process is surprisingly fluid and poetic.
Heuser’s drawings consist of a methodical layering of geometric shapes one upon another - circles within squares upon diamonds and so on – that create the illusion of a three- dimensional field. Starting from measured order and knowing where the center is, Heuser yields to intuition as her creative guide.
The work is shape driven, with color expertly used to portray mood and provide context. Hard ruled lines are softened around the edges by a palette that whispers coloristically, and lends a soft ambiguity to the final work. Some of the drawings incorporate a staining process, reminiscent of Helen Frankenthaler, serving to increase layering and depth. Organic forms are rendered in natural pigments whose earthiness complements ethereal sensations.
Using linear guide marks to define its parameters, Heuser’s Windows collage is a large-scale portrayal of portals. Heuser draws from the vernacular window motif of her predecessors. Matisse, Duchamp, Charlotte Salomon, and Rothko are among many who explored the tentative and fragile, even the intervening passages between life and death through the symbolic use of the window.
Whether we are looking in or looking out is a question left to the viewer, but a sense of floating in time compounded by multiple points of view is strategic in the latest bodies of work.
Lisa Utman Randall, Executive Director Jamestown Arts Center and Karen Conway, Exhibitions Director