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Real Art Ways exhibit takes a unique look at Hartford's Colt factory

Real Art Ways exhibit takes a look at the Colt Factory in unique way
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
"My eyes don't work together," says artist Heather Heckel (above in a self-portrait). Her perspective is on display at Real Art Ways in Hartford under the title "Duality: In Unplain Sight."

Because of a complication at birth, New York-based artist Heather Heckel sees the world in double vision and has no depth perception.

It’s a condition she said allows her to see the duality of everyday objects.

“My eyes don’t work together,” Heckel said. “So, for the past several years, I have been investigating the idea of double imagery, or duality, just playing around with that concept.”

Her solo exhibit at Real Art Ways in Hartford, “Duality: In Unplain Sight,” is a collection of works that explore Heckel’s constant double vision. One work is a self-portrait that features nearly overlapped images of the artist: One image is in focus, the other is blurred, with a space in between.

“I wanted to show that the same object can’t occupy the same space at the same time,” Heckel said.

Most of the exhibit at Real Art Ways focuses on Hartford’s Coltsville National Historical Park.

Through an award from Real Art Ways, Heckel said she was able to find the duality in Colt’s legacy, which she called an “inspired coincidence.”

Real Art Ways exhibit takes a look at the Colt Factory in unique way
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Hartford's Colt building is a focal point of artist Heather Heckel's exhibit at Real Art Ways, “Duality: In Unplain Sight.” A complication at birth resulted in Heckel seeing the world in double vision with no depth perception.

“Colt, and many other arms manufacturers, sold weapons to both sides of [the Civil War], so they were making profits off of war,” Heckel said. “But then also workers and profit, life and death, win and loss, there are all of these things that are tied around arms manufacturing I thought lent itself well to this series.”

In the exhibit, familiar images, like Coltsville’s blue onion dome, are doubled and seem to float through the air. All of the Coltsville pieces feature those sticky golden stars that teachers tend to hand out for good grades.

Heckel said she got the idea from the stars that adorn the blue Colt factory dome. For her, it represents service members killed in combat.

“To me they look like they are kind of falling through the image to sort of comment on the incredible amount of lives that are lost in conflicts and due to gun violence,” Heckel said.

Duality: In Unplain Sight'' runs through Sunday, Oct. 16, at Real Art Ways in Hartford.

Real Art Ways exhibit takes a look at the Colt Factory in unique way
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Heather Heckel is an artist with a unique way of seeing the world, literally. Her perspective is on display at Real Art Ways in Hartford under the title "Duality: In Unplain Sight."

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”
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