May 9, 2024

Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts presents Flight/Air/Fire by Daniel Heyman

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts at Princeton University will present Flight/Air/Fire, an installation of 30 paper pulp banners made by Lecturer in Visual Arts Daniel Heyman while in residence at the Awagami Paper Factory in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. The work will be on view May 14 through June 1 in the CoLab at Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus (except May 19) daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with some extended hours. On Tuesday, May 14 from 4:30-6 p.m., Heyman will be in conversation with Shelley Langdale, Curator and Head of Modern Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art, with a reception following. On Saturday, May 18, a meet-the-artist reception will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. The CoLab is an accessible venue and guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the date of their visit. The exhibition, conversation, and receptions are free and open to the public.

Working in traditional techniques using dyed Japanese mulberry and gampi pulp, Heyman has created vibrantly colored paper banners in the form of traditional Japanese nobori, that, taken as a whole, allude to extreme climate and weather events as a flock of geese navigates a winter storm by the Rhode Island coast. The pulp paintings of Flight/Air/Fire, which measure approximately 4 feet by 6 feet, will be hung from the ceiling intentionally with their backs to the gallery entrance, with viewers invited to walk through the installation to take the exhibition in as a whole.

A white goose sits on the left edge of an abstract composition in blue and grey tones

A detail from one of the paper pulp banners by artist Daniel Heyman to be on exhibit at the Lewis Center May 14-June 1. Photo credit: Yuchen Wang

The banners were made by Heyman during a four-week residency in Japan in summer 2023. The Awagami Paper Factory is a project of the Awagami Japanese Paper Museum. Established in 1989, the museum is dedicated to the preservation of Awagami’s “Awa Washi” papermaking techniques for future generations. The museum strives to introduce, promote, and expand the knowledge of Awa washi papermaking via workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, and lectures. It also maintains an extensive library featuring thousands of volumes dedicated to the art and craft of papermaking and paper-related arts.

Heyman uses his art practice to respond to a wide range of stimuli from world events to his observations of the natural world, his empathy for others, and his interest in material challenges. He notes that his primary focus for a number of years had been an investigation of the results of governmental use of personal and communal violence as a political tool, making images about abuse and torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and other prisons by the U.S. Armed forces, the covering up of sexual violence in the U.S. military, and the intergenerational trauma that results from racist governmental policies as lived out in Native American and African American communities in North Dakota and Pennsylvania. As research for this work, Heyman traveled extensively, doing over 100 interviews with a variety of witnesses, recording testimonies verbatim in paintings, prints and drawings that are now in public collections around the U.S. In 2014 Heyman moved to rural Rhode Island, and his work shifted as he observed and recorded the local natural world. He has deepened his interest in Japanese papermaking and made 14 trips to Japan to work in the Awagami Paper Factory, making not only traditional sheets of kozo, gampi, and mitsumata paper but also exploring the world of paper pulp painting that resulted in new works made into folding screens, scroll and hanging banners. He continues to make woodblock and intaglio prints, as well as paint, in his Rhode Island studio.

A goose kicks up its tail while half of its body is underwater.

One of the paper pulp banners by artist Daniel Heyman. Photo credit: Yuchen Wang

Heyman’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Getty Library Special Collections, Yale University Art Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Hood Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, RISD Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

He was a 2009 Pew Fellow in the Arts and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow. His work has received on-going support from Princeton Summer Research Grants and Rhode Island School of Design Professional Development Grants, and he was awarded an Independence Foundation Grant and a James Reynolds International Fellowship. He has been an artist in residence at Awagami Paper Factory, Tokushima, Japan; Nagasawa Art Project, Awajishima, Japan; Herzaliya Mizkan, Israel; Fine Arts Work Center, Massachusetts; Dartmouth College Artist in Residency Program; Yaddo, MacDowell, and Millay.

Heyman’s work has been shown nationally in exhibitions from Richmond, Virginia, to McMinnville, Oregon, to Amarillo, Texas, and Grand Forks, North Dakota, in large and small institutions. He has been a visiting artist in colleges as diverse as Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, and Minot State University in North Dakota, to Tyler School of Art and Brown University in the Northeast.

Heyman’s work was featured in Male Desire: Homosexual Desire in American Art by Jonathan Weinberg and has been reviewed in many publications including The New York Times, Art in America, The Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio, The Philadelphia Inquirer, City Paper, and Boston Globe, among others. His work was featured in Esquire in 2008 and the 2009 edition of Best American Nonrequired Reading. Heyman holds degrees from Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania and currently teaches at Princeton and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Visit the Lewis Center website to learn more about the Program in Visual Arts, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and the more than 100 public performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, lectures, and special events presented by the Lewis Center each year, most of them free.

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