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