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  • Worcester Art Museum Exhibits Blowup: Recent Sculpture and Drawings by Heide Fasnacht

    WORCESTER, MASS., February 11, 2000 - Soon after joining the Worcester Art Museum last September as curator of Contemporary Art, Susan Stoops began organizing BLOWUP: Recent Sculpture and Drawings by Heide Fasnacht, which runs from March 18 through June 11, 2000. Her first solo project for the Museum's new contemporary art gallery, the exhibition brings together approximately 25 sculptures and drawings - including three new sculptures and two color drawings created for the exhibition - from an innovative body of work that Fasnacht has produced during the past three years.

    Largely based on images from scientific observation, i.e., fallible data such as outdated maps and stop-action photographs from older scientific textbooks and magazines, Fasnacht's works presents various natural phenomena - including volcanoes, geysers, bomb blasts, sneezes, and star clusters - in the form of static images. Because Fasnacht's subjects are phenomena that have no visual meaning at rest, Fasnacht's drawings and sculptures invite us to consider how we "picture" energy.

    Over the course of an impressive 20-year career, Fasnacht's material choices have been integral to her melding of structure and meaning. Her distinctive approach to the relationship between two and three dimensions frequently challenges the conventional roles we assign to them. The drawings are physically substantial, built up with graphite and sometimes punctured with holes. The related sculptures are fashioned from bits of polymer clay and springs or urethane foam forced through a wire mesh armature. Both drawings and sculpture challenge typical visualizations of solidity and stability.

    "By rendering ephemeral, momentary events as monumentally physical images on paper or miniaturized sculptures, Fasnacht asks us to consider the relation between empirical observation and artistic representation," Stoops says. "Her arrested ruptures and systems of apparent order embody a contradictory experience of the world that is fundamental to contemporary life."

    Stoops chose to organize this in-depth look at Fasnacht's recent work because she believes "the artist's sculptures and drawings not only provide a provocative experience of art, but also question the very nature of that experience. By examining the boundaries between solid form and elusive events, between visual documentation and perceptual approximation, Fasnacht's art consciously addresses the act of seeing."

    The Worcester Art Museum will hold an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, March 18 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. The public is also invited to hear Fasnacht speak about the work on Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

    Fasnacht, who was born in Cleveland in 1951, lives and works in New York. She is an instructor at Parsons School of Design and is represented by Bill Maynes Gallery in New York and Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston. Fasnacht has exhibited widely throughout the country for the past two decades. Her work is in numerous public collections including the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Museum Background

    Opened to the public in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum is the second largest art museum in New England. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Throughout its first century, the Worcester Art Museum proved itself a pioneer: the first American museum to purchase work by Claude Monet (1910) and Paul Gauguin (1921); the first museum to bring a medieval building to America (1927); a sponsor of the first major excavation at Antioch, one of the four great cities of ancient Rome (1932); the first museum to create an Art All-State program for high school artists (1987); the originator of the first exhibition of Dutch master Judith Leyster (1993); and the first museum to focus its contemporary art programs on art of the last 10 years (1998). The Museum's hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission: FREE for members; Non-members: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors and full-time college students with current ID; FREE for youth 17 and under; FREE for everyone Saturday mornings 10am-noon sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company. For more information, call (508) 799-4406 or visit the Museum at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester.

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