Friday, September 26, 2014

Explaining My Work: Seeing Beyond

A continuation of my posts trying to give you a glimpse into why I make what I make, and what I think it means. I wrote about this piece before, but felt I should expand on it.
Seeing Beyond
Glass, Paint, LED


I want to give you a sense of the arch of my feelings toward this imagery. I love locks. Ever since I was a child I was fascinated by locks. Padlocks, key locks, combination locks, door locks, they all fascinated me. When I worked in theatre, I was always pleased that we used old fashioned and historic antique locks for trunks and doors and chains. The shapes seemed to tell a story of the preciousness of what it was protection, or the strength which which it did it's job. A lock is a puzzle, for which there is, if you can find the key, an answer.

I began using locks in my paintwork, really for as long as I can remember. When I began working in glass this was an early piece that I used the lock imagery.
Glass, Concrete, Paint
 I was thinking about things that hold us back. The obstacles we face in life, the things we must break free from. With this piece I wanted to lead the viewer toward a psychological understanding of obstacles and titled the piece "Doubt". Our doubt holding us back. I used the imagery for a number of pieces, exploring how to express this idea of locks holding back our growth. This was a suite of 3 pieces which starting with Doubt, also included an outside aid -Path of the Boatman, and a resolution- Both Shores.

My next series included the imagery of Goggles that I've revisited for Seeing Beyond. I first used goggles in science class in school. And for swimming, and I think I even had some for sledding. I used goggles in college when i learned oxyacetylene welding and steel cutting. I even bought a pair of goggle sunglasses back in the 90's when i thought i was a bit cool.  They were at least good for raves and waterslides. 
I created a lot of paintings with figures wearing goggles. a lot of those never made the jump from slides to digital files so may be lost forever... but the image to the left was the first time I used goggles in glass.
It's a retelling of the story of Prometheus. The story of Prometheus has been a huge part of my artwork for a long time and something I've thought about since I first read Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in High School.  In this piece, I use the goggles to represent Victor Frankenstein, the scientist, or Prometheus in his capacity to think creatively and problem solve. This also goes into why I use lightbulbs so frequently in my work

So, onward to 2013 and Seeing Beyond, which i initially posted here

Monday, September 08, 2014

Alice Revisioned at the Tony Hungerford Gallery at the College of Southern Maryland

I've got a solo exhibit up at the Tony Hungerford Memorial Gallery at the College of Southern Maryland. Come see it!

Alice Revisioned 
A mixed and multimedia series based on Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Tony Hungerford Gallery 
 Fine Arts Building 
College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Rd 
La Plata, Md
September 8 – October 3
Gallery Talk and Reception: September 16  at 12 p.m.
Gallery Hours:
Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Detail Drink Me-tamorphosis 
Photo by Pete Duvall

Detail Humpty Dumpty is a Rabbit HolePhoto by Pete Duvall
Two years ago, I began a series based on Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. I had the exhibit at 410 Good Buddy Gallery in Washington, DC and had received a grant from The District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities to help defray costs in creating the works.  It was my first attempt at using both lighting and video in my work.

With the opportunity to exhibit at the College of Southern Maryland, in a slightly larger space, I wanted to remount this exhibit, but add new pieces incorporating new thoughts, feelings, interpretations, and techniques. I wanted to maintain a similar feel, but add to the excitement of the series. I added new video pieces, retouched a few of the original pieces, and added a few more personally relevant touches. An aspect that i really wanted to add was incorporated drawing and photography into the glass. I first started using a photo transfer technique in my Luxury of Dreams series, and was excited to incorporate that use into the Alice series. In fact, I used some relevant imagery directly from the dream series to draw connections to previous works and ideas. In total there are 14 pieces in the show.

Detail She Drowns the World With Her Sorrow
Here is the Press release for the exhibit

Artist Sean Hennessey will open the season for the College of Southern Maryland’s Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery with his exhibit of “Alice Revisioned,” on the La Plata Campus, Sept. 8 through Oct. 3.
Hennessey’s exhibit is a mixed-multimedia series based on “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.” The approach adds a visceral reaction while also maintaining the dreamlike magic and wonder evident in the books.
Hennessey will be available at noon on Sept. 16 for a free gallery talk. The talk is open to CSM students as well as the community as an opportunity to meet the artist and discuss his work.
“While I can teach students the technical tools and crafts that they need to be able to articulate their visual ideas, the gallery talks bring artists like Sean Hennessey from all over the country, to give students a feel for the challenges and rewards for professional artists. Our exhibitors not only share their work, but also their experience and their artistic vision with our students and local artists in Southern Maryland,” said CSM Assistant Professor Katherine Sifers, who is curator for the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery.
The gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building, with hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both the gallery and the gallery talk are free to attend.
For information on Hennessey exhibit as well as future exhibits, visit