Dark and light sides of pleasure

By GREG COOK  |  September 2, 2009

Common characteristics are (1) third-wave feminist art's proud embrace of "girly" and (2) artists adopting handcrafts traditionally not considered fine art, but "women's work." Simultaneously, our culture at large has seen a flourishing of craft (see Stitch 'n' Bitch and Etsy) that reflects a craving for handmade in our ever more digital, synthetic world.

Hassenfeld, who earned a BFA degree from RISD in 1994, works this specific cut-paper territory alongside a growing collection of artists. Imi Hwangbo's floral and geometric patterns cut into stacks of Mylar were shown at the Bell Gallery in 2007; RISD undergrad student Melissa Armstrong installed hand-cut dangling paper foliage at the RISD Museum in 2007. At the Wheeler School's Chazan Gallery in January, Kim Salerno showed cut-out paper and organza "chandeliers." Hassenfeld's version is the best I've seen because of the crispness of her decorative motifs and dynamic use of scale.

A vestibule gallery before Dans La Lune offers four glistening blue-and-white sculptures that Hassenfeld finished this year. (Hassenfeld will also have work at the new Cade Tompkins Editions/Projects gallery at 198 Hope Street from September 25 to November 14.) They're made of paper — rolled, cut, colored with ink and paint, and lacquered — but look like candlesticks or vases holding bare tree branches made from Dutch Delftware, Chinese export ware, or English Willow Ware. It's a new and promising direction for the artist.

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Related: Rock n' Roll saves the day, Photos: Kirsten Hassenfeld at Bell Gallery, Séance, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Brown University, Brown University, Brown University,  More more >
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