Daniel Heyman: Dartmouth Collection and Native Impressions

September 10 - November 5, 2016

Cade Tompkins Projects is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings and prints. The show features two distinct bodies of work: the Dartmouth Collection, works completed during Daniel Heyman's prestigious artist residency at Dartmouth College and In Our Own Words: Native Impressions, a collaborative portfolio with Lucy Ganje, an outstanding project of 26 prints that chronicles stories of individual Native people who live within the Tribal Nations of North Dakota.


About the Dartmouth Collection: Daniel Heyman was invited to the prestigious Dartmouth College Artist in Residence Program in the fall of 2013.  The Program began in 1932 with the invitation of Carlos Sanchez who remained at Dartmouth for one year.  José Clemente Orozco followed with a two-year residency while completing  The Epic of American Civilization mural in the Baker Memorial Library.  The current program hosts several artists of great distinction per year.  As a young student at Dartmouth (class of 1985), Heyman recalls studying directly underneath Orozco’s monumental mural and being very impressed and naturally inspired by the powerful figurative work. Twenty-five years later during his residency, Heyman worked in the studio in the Black Family Visual Arts Center at Dartmouth for three months. Orozco’s influence can be seen in Heyman’s paintings on mylar, watercolor paintings, accordion books and prints that he created, loosely grouped into the Dartmouth Collection.


These mixed-media works fantastically combine the human figure, primates, the northern New England landscape and decorative patterning inspired by Japanese printed papers. Two of the works, Heart Fist (Dartmouth) and To Ride the Son (Dartmouth) feature imagery that Heyman visits from the intensely troubling stories of torture that Heyman previously recorded during interviews with former prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. Heart Fist overlays hooded figures with a seemingly friendly gibbon and beautiful flowers, against a background of saturated swirls of pink and red. Peering within the gibbon’s frame, a skeleton and set of folded hands reveal a sinister plot. As a counterpoint, To Ride the Son hits poignantly as the title points directly to the horrors. Here, two masked figures at once peak at and hide from the world’s chaos.


Learning Curve (Dartmouth) and Gibbon with Camel’s Hump (Dartmouth) play with the orientation of the canvas. Learning Curve is initially a perplexing array of images flipped upside down and back again, challenging the viewer to consider both the imagery and the manner of making. The prominent male head and two inverted figures represent the victim and the viewers of the last public lynching among patterned birds, billowed blue clouds with faces and dripping foliage. Gibbon with Camel’s Hump features white cranes that flap around the lower left portion of the image into the abstracted graphite scratches of an overturned face. A gibbon holds court on the right, supported by a human hand. The captivating colors combined with a range in mark-making, from highly sophisticated to loosely rendered form, heighten the complex relationships in content and material.


In Our Own Words: Native Impressions includes both portraits and text from a range of people in the community – among them, a tribal leader and historian, a poet, two college presidents, a cook and a farmer. The participants were drawn in sessions on-site at four American Indian reservations in North Dakota: the Spirit Lake Nation; the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation; the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation; and the Standing Rock Nation. The portfolio consists of 12 reduction, color-woodcut portraits, by Heyman, and 12 accompanying letterpress prints, of their personal oral histories, by Lucy Ganje, as told while sitting for their portraits. The portfolio was printed at Sundog Multiples at the University of North Dakota with master printer Kim Fink.