Heinrich Toh

"Abundant Journey" November 2014


Kansas City, Mo. On Friday, November 7th 2014, the Todd Weiner Gallery will host an opening reception for “Abundant Journey” by local artist Heinrich Toh.

     “I have a long history, and have lived many lives.” Heinrich Toh, like his art, is comprised of multiple layers. Toh grew up in Singapore and served two years in their military police, which he believes instilled a portion of his approach to art, although he can’t pin point exactly what that is. After moving to the United States in 1997, Toh graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art and the La Salle College of the Arts. He has lived in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Phoenix, Seattle and now Kansas City, where he calls home. In 2000, Toh graduated as a glassblower. He did not enjoy the production aspect of creating the same object over and over again, and slowly moved his focus from glass to the work he does now, which is creating one-of-a-kind monoprints. He harkens back to his painting days in Singapore, where he believed stained glass to be a major inspiration. His affinity with the aesthetic inherent in transparent glass and its consequential visual effect helps to explain the use of color and light in his current pieces.

Printmaking can seem overly technical to some, but Toh sees this aspect of the medium as an opportunity to perfect and hone his vision. He explains: “Although an amount of planning is required between the compositional elements of the work, I try to be intuitive with my process by not over planning.” Paper lithography is an updated version of stone lithography, and Toh’s affinity with the media is readily apparent. His process involves a toner based copier image, repetition, patterning, hand printing and further embellishment with mixed media to create unique images.

These embellishments are derived from explorations of Chinese brocade fabric. Toh describes the brocades to represent the fabric of his cultural identity. He identifies with the tapestries and sees them as a part of his personal history. He explains: “Although the brocades are not necessarily immediately seen they’ve evolved to where I’m recreating my own sense of pattern. The show itself has transformed into some sort of pattern.”

The exhibition, “Abundant Journey” at the Todd Weiner Gallery explores the artist’s past and present through his memory, current western environment, and past eastern culture. Stylistically, the artist speaks through pattern, color, and imagery in his prints. Toh’s inspirations and explorations result in pieces that resonate a common desire to navigate from the past into the present. The multi-layered Toh finds universal themes through complex elements of his own life. As he says himself, Toh has lived many lives, which means there’s much more to come that is worth seeing.

“Abundant Journey” by Heinrich Toh will be on view at TWG November 7th – November 29th 2014. The opening reception will be held from 5-10 pm, First Friday November 7th, at 115 West 18th St, Kansas City, Mo., 64108. Gallery Hours: W-F 11:00 am - 5: 30 pm and Saturday 11:00 am - 3:00pm.