Arrowmont Connections: Heinrich Toh finds solace in his studio while the pandemic inhibits travel

Arrowmont is a special community full of creative people – a family who know that coming together and making art is important. We talk a lot about the Arrowmont Experience – connecting through craft and community. That connection exists beyond physical proximity. It is in shared memories and new ideas. It lives in the friendships we make with each other. It grows when we learn and support one another.

Whether on campus or off, we are connected as members of the Arrowmont family. Over the next few weeks, we are going to share stories from our community of instructors, residents, and students in a new series, Arrowmont Connections.


Heinrich Toh is a studio artist and educator based in Kansas City. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art and the La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore. He has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and at Art Centers around the country. Heinrich has exhibited nationally, including the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle, and his work is in private and public collections including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, Texas.

Heinrich is a printmaker who creates one-of-a-kind pieces through layering and multiple passes through the press. He writes, “My work explores the evolution of identity by synthesizing memories of past with the present. Inspired by layers of memory, ancestry, and pattern, my work investigates the sense of longing and cultural assimilation that comes from travel and relocation.”

“Memories are fleeting with the ongoing assimilation to my immediate environment – they inspire me to seek what was once familiar while blurring the boundaries between Western or Eastern culture. The contrast between the modern and traditional imagery in my work reflects layered and overlapping cultural elements.”

Heinrich was originally scheduled to teach HIGH ROLLING MONOPRINTS at Arrowmont this summer, and will join the 2021 Summer National Workshops in late May of next year.

His Arrowmont workshop was not the only plans postponed by the pandemic. Normally at this time of year, Heinrich would be teaching workshops out of his studio and traveling across the country to festivals and events. He wrote, I’m usually in Denver during the 4th exhibiting at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and will really miss seeing all of you there this weekend! I love Colorado and and would detour off the beaten path to be awed by the mountains and towering tree lines.”

We might have to wait a little longer before art festivals start up again but I’ll still be looking up through the trees into the sky where pattern seeks familiarity with objects of my past and memories that I hold on to.

Heinrich has not stayed idle this summer. Though his print studio was unavailable in the late spring under shelter-at-home orders, Heinrich was able to return and continue working – and connecting with other artists virtually – over the past months. He reached out to the students originally registered to take his 2020 Arrowmont workshop and offered an at-home Zoom demonstration, ensuring through his own efforts that connection and inspiration. He began working directly with Arrowmont staff and helped inform a new series of connection with fellow instructors, the forthcoming Instructor Roundtable discussions.

While in-person experiences and exhibitions are in flux due to the pandemic, Heinrich has focused on staying positive and engaged in his art making. He wrote,

While my work explores the definition of home and travel, what I’ve come to realize I seek is familiarity and comfort, that we don’t easily find.

He has recently found recognition of his work from Kansas City institutions. Heinrich shares, “I’ve just been invited to exhibited at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in 2022 after having my print ‘Flowing Enchantment’ was acquired for their permanent collection early this year.

I also completed 3 large pieces for the Loews Kansas City Hotel that just opened,  where the artwork highlight and reflect on the seen and unseen enchantment of Kansas City’s urban center’s rebirth.”

Tomorrow, July 22, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 EST, Heinrich will join Arrowmont for the first Instructor Roundtable, a new series developed with his insights and suggestions. The discussion will explore the theme of IDENTITY with fellow Arrowmont instructors whose diverse work shares this common exploration.

He will be joined by:

Click here to register as an attendee for the July Roundtable, or visit https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dJA1kajvRm-N0VjZ8GsDFQ.

 


Heinrich Toh’s website: http://www.heinrichtoh.com/

Heinrich’s Arrowmont Connections profile: https://www.arrowmont.org/instructor/heinrich-toh-connections/connections-toh-heinrich/

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