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January 4-27, 2002

Opening Reception
Friday, January 4, 7:00-10:00pm

Carolyn Henne creates a site-specific, mixed-media installation in the Main and Skylight Galleries

Sponsored by Main Art Gallery & Frame
1537 W. Main Street
Richmond, VA

THERE'S HERE - A Site Specific Installation at Artspace by Carolyn L. Henne

The installation, There's Here, is a contemplation of the here and now via a cartoonish sort of depiction of the afterlife. Responding to the unique architectural space of Artspace, Carolyn Henne has created an environment in which the visitor moves through hell and into the heavens but never actually enters earth.

The installation occupies the two large galleries on the 1st and 2nd floors, the mezzanine and the opening in the ceiling of the 1st floor gallery and the floor of the 2nd floor gallery. The downstairs gallery is the "underworld" or "hell", the upstairs is the "heavens", and "earth" is suspended between.

One enters the installation downstairs - "hell". A "flaming" chaise is the centerpiece. As one lays down on the heated surface, one's perspective changes, looking up at a transparent floating figure beyond which are two tiers of turbines with a fan in the middle. The fan fills the fabric sphere that is "earth". The whole downstairs space will be alive with movement caused by the fan pulling the air from that space. When one rises, one's trace remains in the flames of the chaise. The chaise is made up of several layers of pinmented gels and petroleum jelly (each having different viscosities, moving at different rates when responding to the weight and heat of the body).

Moving to the second floor, one enters the "heavens" where there are a number of elevated chairs. Each chair is upholstered in white. When one sits, wings will inflate and remain inflated until one stands up. Viewed from the heavens, in the center of the opening is "earth".

There is an animation projected onto the surface of "earth" from the inside. Inside the sphere are two tiers. On each are 23 lamps with rotating lamp "shades". This results in 46 separate rotating and projected images. Because the sphere acts as a shared projection screen, images overlap and melt into one another. The first tier is a series of landscape images, giving the sense that the "earth" is turning. The second tier is a series of 23 cartoon portraits of the artist - from infancy to age 90.

Artist's Statement:

The main reason I am drawn to installation is to slow and extend viewer interaction and to allow a time-released experience. I would like my viewers/visitors to linger long enough to get to the point of responding to the piece almost peripherally, surrationally - as when one daydreams. This provides opportunities for ideas/feelings to perhaps sneak up or just be recognized

To accommodate this I use several strategies. I fabricate low-tech devices. The viewer has to spend little time marveling at the feat. One gets past that quickly but the image is still compelling. I also use low-key interactive elements that change as the visitor moves through the space or sits down. Sitting allows a change of perspective; the viewer becomes less self-aware, and may spend more time in the space.

Brief Bio:

Carolyn Henne is a Richmond-based sculptor. She studied Architectural Design and Economics as an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary. At 24, she left her job as an agricultural economist to study art in the south of France - a summer pursuit that stretched into another year's work at Lacoste School of the Arts. She returned to the states and completed her graduate work in Sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1990. She has shown her work widely and also regularly shows in Richmond, supporting her studio work with prop-making, custom fabrication, and teaching.

E-mail Carolyn Henne

Additional Information including stills and video as well as resume, statements and more available online:

  • http://www.vcu.edu/artweb/Sculpture/faculty/henne.htm

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