Using the device of multiple-panel sequences found in a graphic novel (a notoriously indulgent format that is frequently accused of suspect motivations by more conservative voices in our culture), Heu conveys relatable, yet often overlooked anxieties of everyday life—the frailty of our bodies, the specter of chemical dependency, religious uncertainty, family dynamics, and cultural differences—into portraits to be faced by the viewer. Heu prefers simple, line carving and mark making because of their concise nature: time sits still or zigzags through a composition. The most outlandish adventures are recounted with an eye fixed on the bare essentials. Translating oral narrative into a visual narrative reveals the significance of the story. Heu’s stories present the sublime drama of the hero’s journey, an expedition whose true destination is the realm within each of us. He says, “Battles against time, against the obstacles that prevent the fulfillment of desire, or the repossession of something cherished but lost were themes that provoked me. Revealing truth and humor in the face of horror and the seemingly absurd was my answer.”
He is a professor of ceramics in the Art and Design Department at Southeast Missouri State University. Heu’s artwork is exhibited nationally and internationally in juried, invitational, and solo exhibitions. He conducts visiting artist workshops at universities and institutions across the United States.
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