Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Anna Hepler at Portland Museum of Art

Maine's Portland Museum of Art is exhibiting through October 17 Anna Hepler's The Great Haul, an extraordinary installation of salvaged layered strips of light-filtering sheet plastic "sewn" together with staples. The piece, which took nearly a week to construct in the PMA's Great Hall, incorporates an existing skylight and hangs some 22 feet, top to bottom. It takes full — and stunning — command of its space, as the photo below shows.

Anna Hepler, The Great Haul, Salvaged Plastic and Staples 
Image: Scott Peterman for The Boston Globe

Other work by Hepler also is featured in the museum as part of the four-part exhibition: Full Blown, a hanging sculpture, of translucent (nonsalvaged) plastic and brown packing tape, that inflates every 16 minutes; a dozen drypoint prints, called "Inflatable Drypoints", based on the kind of small, balloon-like "inflatable" sculptures for which Hepler is well-known; and eight cyanotypes (also known as "blueprints"), made from digital photographs of sculptures that themselves are based on scans of dragonfly wings.

Anna Hepler, Cyanotype 6, 2009, inkjet on rag paper, 36" x 47-1/2"
Image: Anna Hepler's Flickr Photostream

The show, "Anna Hepler: Makeshift", is the first solo exhibition of Hepler's work at PMA and the first in a series titled Circa that will feature two exhibitions annually of the work of contemporary artists from Maine and elsewhere. 

In the documentary below, produced for the PMA by David Camlin and Petra Simmons, the conceptual artist speaks about the balancing of the "nuts and bolts of process" and the "overarching qualities" of art-making.

Makeshift from David  Camlin on Vimeo.

Visual arts critic Sebastian Smee has written a terrific piece about the exhibition and Hepler: "Fearful Symmetries, Courtesy of Plastic and Packing Tape" in The Boston Globe, August 8, 2010. Also see two posts at Slow Muse: "The Intuition Deliminator" and "The Fundamental Geometries". Both are written by my keenly intelligent friend, artist Deborah Barlow, about whom I first wrote here. She recently exhibited her beautiful paintings at the Brooklyn Workshop Gallery.

Anna Hepler Images on Flickr

Anna Hepler Images on Google

Anna Hepler's Blog

Anna Helpler Woodcuts at Nancy Margolis Gallery

Cyanotypes Explained

Drypoint Explained

Woodcut Explained

Reviews on PMA Exhibition (See "In the News".)


Hannah Stephenson said...

Wow--Thanks for sharing this!! So incredibly beautiful. I hadn't seen her work before--I love the intricate construction (and a week seems surprisingly short for how enormous that installation is).

Claudia said...

wow - this is wonderful art…it looks so beautiful on the picture and must be amazing if you stand right in front of it..thanks for sharing

katdish said...

Always amazed at the variety and diversity of art you find. Thanks for sharing your finds with us.

Laura said...

This is so amazing. It always gives me joy to see art created in this way--salvaged materials, humble media. What a gifted lady.