Union Gallery

Image of the Gallery

main space


Nathan Heuer and Brynn Higgins-Stirrup

May 30 - July 31, 2015
Reception: Saturday, May, 2-4pm

Common Ground features the work of artists Nathan Heuer and Brynn Higgins-Stirrup -- who offer different perspectives on contemporary culture through drawings of architectural forms and fragments that are informed by critical personal reflections on the physical and spiritual realms. Heuer’s intricate watercolour and graphite drawings focus on the oft forgotten utilitarian structures that represent the wastefulness of a market driven culture that are now discarded throughout the landscape of America. Higgins-Stirrup explores the spiritual and meta-physical relationships to the present through her labour intensive, meditative, artistic process of creating hand-embossed geometric drawings reflective of simple architectural fragments or mathematical forms.


Nathan Heuer, Signs, watercolour and graphite 2014

Nathan Heuer, Continental Drift, watercolour and graphite 2015


                                                                   Nathan Heuer, Hotel, watercolour and graphite 2011


Nathan Heuer |

Heuer’s work is largely concerned with the role of architecture in society as a symbol of cultural values and history. Architecture represents a significant investment of time, resources, and design knowledge, yet we do not acknowledge the achievement inherent in our utilitarian structures. The American landscape, in fact, is full of contemporary ruins of factories, hotels, schools, and other architecture that has fallen by the wayside in an aggressively consumerist society. Each of these abandoned structures forms the nucleus of a small narrative, often one of lost livelihoods, budgetary cuts, and dying industries.

The artist decontextualizes the subject of each drawing by removing the structure from its surroundings and isolating it on a white ground. This aesthetic decision is intended to echo the fragmentary picture of history that we are presented with in a museum, where isolated artifacts are meant to tell us the story of an unfamiliar culture. Heuer hopes that through these drawings viewers will reconsider the deeper cultural significance of these structures and the ramifications of the intensive capitalism that shapes contemporary American life.


Nathan Heuer received his MFA from Kendall College of Art & Design and is currently an Assistant Professor of Drawing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Recent exhibitions of his work include On Temporality at the Chapman Gallery of Kansas State university, Community and Memory at the Royal naval Club and Royal Albert Yacht Club, in Portsmouth, UK and, Texas Draws II at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio TX. His work has also appeared in a number of publications, including New American Paintings.

Brynn Higgins-Stirrup, Without Condition or Reply, embossed paper, 2014


Brynn Higgins-Stirrup, When I See the Blood, embossed paper, 2014 



Brynn Higgins-Stirrup, Journey's End, embossed paper, 2014


Brynn Higgins-Stirrup |

Higgins-Stirrup explores the transformational and transcendent imagery of the non-physical realm through her meditative labour-based drawing practice. The process of creating her artwork acts as a catalyst for attention to the present moment and awareness of the body and mind. These techniques act as physical markers of time and space, honouring mental quiet, the movement of the body, and notions of human and cosmic potential and force. Through these meditative, intuitive processes she seeks to further awareness of the spiritual and metaphysical, as it relates to the act of making.

Her work is founded upon the aesthetic histories of spiritualism. This includes new thought movement writers, such as Eckhart Tolle and Ernest Holmes, proponents of religious mysticism, such as Helena Blavastky and Hildegard von Bingen and the masters of epistemology and philosophy of the mind. Aesthetically, the pieces hang in balance between archaic aesthetics, works of religious mysticism and pseudo-scientific or mathematical diagrammatic forms.


Brynn Higgins-Stirrup is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, ON. She received her BFA from Queen’s University (2103). In the past year Higgins-Stirrup has taken part in BAiR 2D at the Banff Centre for the Arts and YYZ lab, an artist residency outreach through YYZ Artist’s Outlet in Toronto. Recent exhibitions include Tell Me What You’re Made Of at Forest City Gallery (2014), Whose Thirst is Their Must in the YYZ Artists’ Outlet window space (2014) and Get Noticed at Red Head gallery, curated by Erin Stump and Powell Macdougall. She also studied studio arts at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia (2012) and art history at the Bader International study centre in the United Kingdom (2009). .