Kirsten Hassenfeld: Cabin Fever opens at the Hunterdon Art Museum

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Kirsten Hassenfeld: Cabin Fever opens at the Hunterdon Art Museum
Kirsten Hassenfeld, Star Upon Star, 2011. Mixed media. Courtesy Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles.

CLINTON, NJ.- The Hunterdon Art Museum announce a solo exhibition of new work by Brooklyn-based artist Kirsten Hassenfeld. The site-specific exhibition, titled Cabin Fever, opens to the public on April 1 and continue through June 3, 2012.

Kirsten Hassenfeld makes extraordinary sculpture and collage with ordinary materials. She carefully saves odds and ends from her daily life, such as bottle caps, thread spools, envelopes and wrapping paper and incorporates them into complex works of art that defy expectations. In her hands, these items become multi-faceted chandeliers, highly detailed architectural forms, and abstract three-dimensional sculptures that illuminate dark rooms, often inviting the viewer to enter a private space, and, at the same, recall the vernacular handicrafts of the original American settlers.

Over the years, the main ingredient in Hassenfeld’s work has evolved from primarily paper to recycled every day materials, a reflection of her concern about waste and conservation in today’s society. With reference to traditional household chores that kept generations of Americans solvent, she quilts, sews, weaves, canes and patches these cast-off materials into spectacular assemblages. The result is an intricately constructed wall piece that is reminiscent of handwoven objects found in early colonial households.

Given the 19th century architecture of the Hunterdon Art Museum, it is particularly apt for Hassenfeld to make her solo museum debut within its walls. While preparing for her exhibition, Hassenfeld reflected on the households that were established in this country as the pioneers headed west. In her mind, this expansion marked “the beginning of the end” for the untouched land, and she concentrates on the era when this land was first populated by non-indigenous groups. The title of the exhibition, Cabin Fever, refers to both the feverish pace of work for these early settlers, as well as to actual fever, hardship and isolation of these early years.

Kirsten Hassenfeld is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art. She attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Scultpure in 1997 and received her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Arizona, Tuscon.

She has had several solo shows, most recently at Peter Mendenhall Gallery in Los Angeles, Brown University, Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn and Bellwether Gallery, New York City. She has been included in group shows a The Hudson River Museum, NY; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; and, The Jewish Museum, NY, among others. This is her first solo Museum show. The show is organized by Hunterdon Art Museum Director of Exhibitions Jonathan Greene.

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