Icons in Ash explores memorial portraits made with the cremated remains of the deceased by artist Heide Hatry. Hatry is a contemporary fine artist represented by Ubu Gallery in New York City. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.
Hatry’s father’s death at a young age left her with a persistent sense of unresolved grief and a daunting void within. Many years later, after a dear friend died, she sought solace through her art practice as a way of coping with this now intensified and fiercely resurfacing grief. Following a sudden inspiration, Hatry decided that she must make portraits of her father and her friend using their cremated ashes.
She invented a labor-intensive mosaic technique in which she embedded the individual ash particles into a surface of beeswax through several applications until a rich and textured likeness has been achieved. Her discovery revealed the possibility of a life-altering silent communion that Hatry knew she wanted to share with others who were suffering their own loss. Knowing that love and loss are not exclusive to only human relationships, Icons in Ash also includes portraits of beloved animals.