Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Color of Conflict closes soon

The show is nearly done! Only a few days remain to see this powerful comes down January 1!
A sleepy John Hensel, just after arriving from Michigan on an AMTRAK bus.
The opening was a blast. Many people braved the cold, slippery roads and the ubiquitous holiday parties to welcome John "home" and to celebrate his achievements as a photographer.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Color of conflict nears...

At the core of COLOR OF CONFLICT, at the heart, at the start:
a collaboration between Susan Hensel and John Hensel
The subject is war. The object is yarn. The exhibit is photography.

COLOR OF CONFLICT, now on exhibit at Susan Hensel Gallery
reception: DECEMBER 17, 7-10pm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Color of Conflict opens soon


A new exhibit at Susan Hensel Gallery

Dec 1, 2010-Jan. 1, 2011

reception on Friday, December 17, 7-10pm

The object is yarn. The subject is war.

Color of Conflict, opening at Susan Hensel Gallery December 1, is a collaboration with photographer John Hensel, my son

Always a multimedia artist who seeks narrative, I brought the world of fiber into my studio practice. Color of Conflict is a show of photographs that wrest the meaning from a series of yarns spun during my sabbatical. These yarns, containing army toys and the colors and forms of armed conflict, can be knitted. But their true horror is revealed in the photographic display.

In the art world, one talks about transgression. Transgression can be loosely defined as breaking expected boundaries or expectations. Yarn is expected to be soft, warm, useful, at times even life saving. It is often associated with leisure, craft and women's work. Rarely is it thought of as an object, a material or a subject of fine art. In this project, yarn paradoxically uses its traditional softness to express a hard/harsh/violent reality. It uses its allusions to its life saving properties( warmth, padding, protecting) as a field of discussion about war and death. It uses a "women's art" to discuss a "man's pursuit."

This body of work was completed during a six month sabbatical from gallery life. I took the risk of closing Susan Hensel Gallery for six months in order to return to studio practice and research. During the sabbatical I spent much time exploring the narrative capabilities of fiber. I have become part of the artyarn movement, a radical group of spinners who push the idea of what yarn can be to its maximum. Usually, it is a lighthearted game, spinning Christmas baubles and Halloween eyeballs into fluffy masses of wool. It’s mostly about process and fun. I love process as much as the next person, but process alone does not satisfy me in the long-run. I have been adding, multiplying, accreting and inserting meaning wherever I can in handspun yarn.

There will be a reception for the us on Friday, December 17, 7-10pm. Come see the yarn. Come meet the photographer.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The gallery is stirring, with much new work

The gallery is stirring and a re-birth of sorts is underway.
My personal work is all over the walls. I have begun working with four of the upcoming artists who have shows here in 2011, beginning with Dean Ebben. Then will come Reader's Art 11: Urban/Urbane, followed by Libbie Soffer, Carolyn Halliday and Debora Miller.

In addition to the wool market tomorrow, Sat, Oct 23, 10-4....
You can see a show of what I have been doing during this sabbatical! The walls are covered, nearly to the ceiling, with new work. Come and see!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sydney Aquarium after hours

The Dugong
I was not particularly looking forward to the Sydney Aquarium...You know, seen one seen them all. And I suppose it was not that unusual as aquariums go. BUT we got to see it with no strollers, no screaming kids, no cranky parents! The most exciting thing was seeing 2 real platypus! The were quite small, swimming far to quickly for my camera to catch them in the dark water.
Holly is a woman from Florida who wears fine jewelry and always arrives fashionably and creatively dressed. Except for the Florida connection, I would never have dreamed of her special talent. Holly can talk to the sea creatures, even through the glass, and they appear to listen. Holly's normal voice is quite loud, brash, carrying far. When she talks to the sea creatures, she speaks with the tone of a new lover, sweet & inviting. The leopard ray came right to the glass and seemed to reach out to her. The dugong stopped sleeping, and swam to her.

sleeping dugong.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Gallery is pregnant?

Things are brewing, even as sabbatical continues. It is an exciting time in the quiet gallery. Nothing is hanging on the wall. Everything is pregnant with potential!

The windows are growing and blooming with the art by Debora Miller. Drive by, especially after dark to see them at their best!
Soon we will have another South Minneapolis Wild Wool Market: October 23.
In December a new show will open...its title is unknown...but it is a collaboration between Susan Hensel and her son John Hensel. John is a fine photographer who is able to take an idea, a glimmer, really, and make it sing. I had a weird idea that involved yarn that told a story. His photography makes that potential story real. Stay tuned for dates! The party will be sometime over the Christmas holidays, since that is when he visits Minneapolis. And then, Dean Ebben's show will open in January. Dean is a local guy who moved on to New York. He comes back every year to see family and to teach at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. On January 14 he will open IN THE HOUSE OF THE MINNERAL SPIRITS at Susan Hensel Gallery with an installation and a performance. Stay tuned!

Like I said, nothing is HERE, right now, but the place is pregnant with the future! How exciting!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The "Geist" of Dean Ebben

Geist is a word that comes up in discussion with Dean Ebben...There is not a precise definition or translation of it, but it seems to be the "uber" meaning, the unspoken totality or subconscious underpinnings of experiences. It relates to his understanding of the meaning of "wisdom work." Although Dean works in the Museum of Biblical Art, his understanding of wisdom work is not a religious one. Like the writers of deep history, he seeks wisdom through the exploration of ideas, materials, mythology and narrative...He seeks the "geist."

Dean has made a series entitled Geist .They are gouache paintings, painted on over beaten flax that he beat and sheet-formed at Cave Paper in Minneapolis, MN. The images stem from imagination, dreams, personal mythology, media, art history and popular culture.

The series continues with increasing subtlety and will likely be part of his show, In the House of the Mineral Spirits, opening in January.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dean Ebbens, Similar Journeys

Read about Dean Ebben's recent show at St. John University

Dean's In the House of the Mineral Spirits will be the re-opening show, at the end of a 6 month sabbatical, for Susan Hensel Gallery in January 2010.

Monday, August 2, 2010

In the House of the Mineral Spirits

I had a wonderful talk with
Dean Ebben today. Those of you who have taken workshops from him, know what I mean when I say he is open and charming, but thinks deeply and carefully about what he is doing in this world.

Dean grew up in the Twin Cities, graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Pratt Institute. His media is drawing... but not in the way that most people think of an elegant line done in pen or pencil. He draws in multi-media, works video, handmade paper, cyanotype and goache in a meditative manner akin to the discovery process inherent in drawing.
image from Bound, a series of Cyanotypes Ebben made in Austerlitz, NY. They are the result of a video-taped action of Ebben wrapping his hands and feet.

As he works on his January show, In the House of the Mineral Spirits, Dean is considering this gallery space, this city, this neighborhood and how they will affect the presentation and the meaning of his work. Stay tuned. The actual date is not yet chosen, but the event will be exciting. We spent the morning discussing the use of video projection, performance and evidence that can be possessed by the observers. Gamelans will likely be played!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wool Market Fun

The South Minneapolis Wild Wool Market was, once again, well attended and so much fun. Even if no one came, I think we would enjoy ourselves! What's not to enjoy about people engaged with fiber?
This darling little one finished her fiber day with Grandma at our place. She had started the day by making fairies at the Fiber Studio and ended by making a Wild Batt with me.

Jenn Cuff spent the day spinning (So did I;-)) Although I have no photos to prove it, my friend Carla brought in her Navajo spindle and taught us how to use it. Several of us took turns on it while she tried out my new Majacraft Wheel. Her hand can be seen somewhere in this fluffy, curly single made from loose locks. I spun 3 skeins during the day, totaling nearly 300 yards.

You never know what will happen at a wool market. If you stay long enough, you are bound to learn something new or make a new friend.

Next market? July 24.

The wool market will probably resume in September. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

more installation shots

study with Adrienne Sloane

(Leslie D., Martha B.,Deb G.,Fran N., me, Adrienne Sloane)
The class, Knitting and the Political Landscape, by Adrienne Sloane, finally taught this longtime knitter (like 40 years on and off) HOW to knit. The goal was to accumulate enough skills to be able to knit in a sculptural manner. It was so HARD ON MY HANDS! (The nearly 50 years of art working have taken a toll!) BUT, stay tuned. Things may happen! I organized and added a few needles to the stash and do have plans involving shifu, audio tape and wool.It was a power-packed class. The lists and the bulletin boards barely cover the intensity. We sampled, sampled and sampled, technique after technique, stretching our knitting concepts and forms into three dimensional space.

In the end, yarn bombing happened. Leslie, with the help of Martha, knit a garter for a baluster outside of Yudof Hall. Other bombs were sprinkled through McNeil Hall.


The gallery is a quiet studio, talk radio in the background. This Saturday, it will light up with the second South Minneapolis Wild Wool Market. Ideas have been knocking around in my head that involves the little dresses again, but in 3-d with fiber. SO, I today I began.
I like the relationships that are developing among the parts, although it is still too linear, simply curated objects rather than a full 3-d experience. I think the placenta dress needs to hang in space rather like the stuffed dress at the left.But with the wool market arriving in a couple of days, I will leave it as is for now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Flowers in celebration

Do you remember Kari Gunther-Seymour? I do! She sent this bouquet celebrating 7 years of the gallery and the beginning of my sabbatical!

What a wonderful artist and what a wonderful human being. Kari was one of the first artists I worked with here at the gallery. She shipped in WAR GAMES, an amazing installation of interactive art games that pertained to our never ending war in Iraq, in the first year of the gallery. Kari is a life long peace activist whose son went to war. She has produced powerful bodies of work that deal with the tension between supported her son, and the troops, while abhorring the war.(go to the gallery website and check out the archives: Show #3 and show #15.)

Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Monday and I'm still working

It's Monday. It's 8 pm and I am still working. What else is new?

Well, it is the last day of the regular gallery schedule for the next 6 months!
Leslie Sobel on the Stonearch Bridge overlooking the great Mississippi River.
Zach and I packed Leslie Sobel's show today...if you missed it you can see it in the gallery #40!!!! Times sure does fly when you are having fun. Leslie showed at the beginning of the second season and at the end of the 7th season. Rather nice, if uneven, brackets.

"SO", you ask, "Now what?"

Well...I sat in the yard for a bit today and mused with Zach about the difficulty we both have at not working (Hence, it is now 8:15 pm and I have been at it since before 10 am.) I am already thinking of ways to use the gallery, before we re-commence in January.

I am considering doing an artyarn show in the fall...I am considering truncating the yearly schedule to September through May or June...I am considering having a fiber oriented set of summer shows each year...I am considering....
Art yarn by Susan Hensel

I am considering sitting quietly by big water and letting my busy brain empty out and quiet down. But until that happens, I will putter away in here, playing with fiber, reading, writing and dreaming. Zach and I will maintain Monday hours through July, when he leaves for grad school! I will be studying in various places at various times throughout the 6 months...starting with the Artwear Symposium at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gallery Musings

Today was spent on promo for the Wool Market, yawning from lack of sleep, evaluating the results of the current show in the gallery, updating the website, interviewing several people for the potential new position of gallery associate in January, photographing fiber and recording dye results.
The work day flew by, with both Zach and I smiling as we we realized our work responsibilities were waning. He has finished 2 of his three jobs before grad school and I am almost to the sabbatical date! We are both waxing philosophical/nostalgic even though we will be working together another 2 months!

Leslie Sobels' show comes down after Memorial Day, but we will maintain our Monday hours, getting caught up on gallery admin and planning, web restructure and repair, generalized computer stuff! Our Fridays, which may occasionally become Thursdays or Wednesdays (call before you come), will be spent dying and cleaning out the basement cracks, crannies and crevices to make a fuller functioning lower studio.

South Minneapolis Wild Wool Market Arrives!

South Minneapolis Wild Wool Market
Susan Hensel Gallery• 3441 Cedar Ave S • Minneapolis

Demonstrations! Refreshments! Yarn! Fiber! Roving! Batt Your Own Wild Batt!

This new experiment will start Memorial Day Weekend...When you are out shopping yard sales, stop by and shop with us! You will find great values in materials and finished textile products from local artisans.

The tentative line up for May 29 is:

Sue Hensel: batts, roving, yarn, Batt Your Own Wild Batt station and/or spinning demo
Kat Corrigan: Frankensweaters and sewing demo
Pauline Mitchell: weaving, tapestry demo
Stefanie Moss: weavings from handyed yarn
Pam Angier: miscellaneous fiber goodness from the Fiber Studio