Performing and Fine ArtsSCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Heather G. Abrams, B.A.
Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts
Office: 006 Hubbard Hall
National Association of Women Artists - Member
National Watercolor Society - Signature Member
My monotypes are based on the imagery and symbolism of the rock art of the Four Corners area. Finding that the geography of the American Southwest is a vast canvas upon which native cultures have for centuries left their art to resonate into the future, I am understandably drawn to this legacy of comparable beauty. Rocks, boulders and canyon walls seem to comprise a giant art gallery, a bequest from societies long since past whose energy can still be felt and whose can still intrigue. I seek to translate this litany if lives long ago into a contemporary medium, approaching each image with reverence and sensitivity - ever mindful of the scared nature of many of the original markings.
Born and raised in Utica, I have been interested in art from the time I could first hold a pencil. I took every available art course at Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute while in grammar and high schools. At Boston University, I majored in Art History. After attending graduate school at NYU, I worked as an illustrator and in an advertising art studio in Manhattan, and I then began doing free-lance work. After many years working in both commercial art fields and retailing, I eventually found my way back first to Utica and then fine art
In 1990, I began taking printmaking courses at the Institute. I very quickly switched from using oil-based inks to watercolor paints and water-based inks when it became clear that I was allergic to the solvents. Experimenting with monotypes, I discovered a certain spontaneity and an "accidental" quality inherent in the water-soluble paints and inks that I had not found in other media. After my first trip to the Southwest in 1992, I became captivated by the imagery and symbolism of the native cultures of that region. I began researching the origins of the rock art and the ancient societies that created it, and when I combined the technique and subject matter I discovered a serendipitous fusion of process and image.
At about the same time I acquired an etching press and established my own studio, I also changed my focus. My earlier prints emphasized the figures at the expense of the backgrounds. I had previously been more interested in the symbols than the rocks on which they were originally created. But in returning to the Four Corners region every year, I found myself drawn more to the geology and geography of the area. Gradually, I became increasingly intrigued by the rock surfaces and textures and, working from my own photographs, began to reproduce the rocks with more fidelity and care while attempting to maintain the same spontaneous, semi-abstract quality that infused my earlier experimentation.