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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Changes in the Studio and new shows ahead

They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, the more things change the more they remain the same...etc. There are probably a few more cliches, if I could just think of them.  I am on my own again in the studio, i.e. back to normal. 

My wonderful, wonderful assistant, Melissa, decided to simplify her life a bit.  She was juggling so many balls that I knew our time together in the studio was going to coming to an end sooner, rather than later.  With her help, I re-launched my exhibition career.  REALLY!  I felt like an utter amateur when I returned to the studio to determine what I had been doing all those years the gallery was open!  She helped me discover what I had, think clearly about it, re-write many documents and organize my desktop for applying to shows.  Wow!  I could not be more grateful.  Please support her in her endeavors  with her gallery Flow Art Space.

I have been working away on the Jerome Fiber Project Grant...see The Wearing My Age Blog.  In the background I hear the embroidery machine stitching away.  As a result of the learning process for the Wearing My Age Project, I embroidered a series of hankies with selfies!  I just sent 3 of them off to Seattle, to Columbia City Gallery.  You can see one of them in the poster;-)  Seattle is one of my favorite cities in the world.  If you are out there in the next month and a half, check out the show!

The Ophelia Project comes down from Riverland Community College soon...Marcus and I drive down September 25 to pack it up and put it in storage for a few months.

Upcoming shows are a bit more local:

I Dwell in Impossibility opens as part of a two person show at Larson Gallery U of MN Nov. 7( opening) - Dec. 4Wearing My Age opens as part of the Jerome show, Truth Telling atConcordia College Jerome fiber artists Nov. 13 (opening) - Jan. 3

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The performance of The Ophelia Project at Riverland Community College

It took quite a while to upload...but here it is.  The first performance of The Ophelia Project.  The performance was September 3, 2014 with the able assistance of Ellie Dyke, a student at Riverland Community College.