Monday, September 22, 2014

Upcoming Show Opening November 7

Inside and Out handbill_Susan

Art Opening: Form: Inside Out
                      Fri, Nov 7 6:00pm
                      St. Paul Student Center, 2017 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN
Combining her studies in biology and the fine arts, Jamie Winter Dawson brings a new perspective to the inner body.  Susan Hensel uses costume to portray new forms of the body and to reflect on the constraints of age
Opening includes food and music, all are welcomed. 
a collaboration by
Susan Hensel John Hensel

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –  Emily Dickinson

I dwell in an aging body:
      emptied of fertility by circumstance and time,
      denied power through chance of  birth and age,
      yet still impossibly fecund with possibility.

I dwell in the creative impossible, choosing to depict the transgression of gender role interacting with age; to create a poetic representation of both diminishment and power, neither male nor female, impossibly pregnant...liminal in all possible ways.  Neither one nor the other, neither yin nor yang.

This suite of photographs is a collaboration of the performer and sculptor, Susan Hensel, and the photographer, John Hensel. When collaborating, Susan sets the parameters of costume and objects to be manipulated and then allows the collaborator to direct the action.  Drawing on extensive study of African masquerade culture, she allows the objects and costumes to inhabit her will, allowing her aged, broken body to dance free in the spirit of the costume.
What is pictured here?

Susan, a sixty-four year old woman, pregnant, wearing a power suit and celluloid collar.

In truth, tired, drugged, in post-surgical condition, constrained from using her right arm but wearing her scars proudly. She channels a sensual force, dancing in a masquerade.

The imagery reveals a transgressive combination of outright sexual power with outright male power. There is a certain shamanistic aspect to this, the mysterious power of birth vs. the physical male strength and political power.

The handmade paper pregnant belly was cast from molds made progressively of a young pregnant woman as her body swelled with life.  It is also a repurposing of part of an old installation called Erin's Belly:Protected Real Estate.

A woman wearing a man's power suit defies cultural expectations.

Pregnancy is an image of creativity, but also an image of youth. Here an aged woman wearing a pregnant belly and exposing false breasts again defies expectations.

"It's hard for me, at the age of 64, to understand gender as construct.  In my days in the college classroom, gender was what you were born with, while behaviors surrounding gender were mutable. Both the language and the understanding has changed. In this new millennium, I can think of gender as a costume, a masquerade, imposed or chosen."                                                      -Susan Hensel

Also showing in the Larson Gallery is the work of Jamie Winter Dawson.  Please visit her website to get a preview of the sorts of things you might see from her.
Put this on your calendar, too!
Concordia College TRUTH TELLING: Jerome fiber artists Nov. 13 - Jan. 3, opening reception November 13, 5-8pm

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