Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Otis Street Arts Project

Wanted: Artists needing space.

Otis Street Arts Project
Sean Hennessey and David Mordini are pleased to announce Otis Street Arts Project. This new initiative will serve as artist studios and a creative incubator for those interested in a dynamic, supportive, and community oriented work environment of professional artists. Situated among other group studios in a light industrial space, including a glass studio, ceramics studios, painters and public artists.
We aim to create an active space open to visitors, guest artists, collaborations, critiques, interactions, and other events.
The space consists of subdivided empty studio areas roughly 11' x 11' with 9.5' ceilings. There is a bathroom, community area, slop sink, and exhibition space that will be used to showcase rotating exhibitions.
The studio has a loading dock and parking.
It is located in Mount Rainier, MD, just over the DC line.
Studios are $400/month each and will be available in February, though the exact move in date is still a bit tentative.
If interested please contact
Include you contact info, website, and give us a sense of what kind of work you want to do in the space.

Please share if you know artists in the DMV that might be interested.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

SOFA expo Chicago 2014

I'm very cised to be exhibiting at this years SOFA Chicago with Habatat Galleries!
She Drowns the World with Her Sorrow
(photo by Pete Duvall)
I first visited SOFA a number of years ago, and noticed Habatat Galleries' insane presence there. A wide variety of glass art. and they certainly had lots of space. My good friend Tim Tate was later picked up by the gallery and graciously introduced them to me, and my work to them. I was picked up by Habatat in 2013 for the International Invitational exhibit and was part of it again earlier this year. This is the first time that they are taking me to one of the big Art Fairs.

I've previously gone to Aqua Art Miami and Art Wynwood with Alida Anderson Project, and am super excited to have an Fair on the schedule this year.

The Fur-suit of Happiness
(photo by Pete Duvall)

I'll be taking works from a few different series, but all glass relief pieces with electrical components. Either LED or Video.

A few of the pieces are from my recent Alice in Wonderland series. I'll have 3 Alice pieces in the booth, all with video elements.

The Possibility
Sharing What is Held Close
Another piece is from my series of works on Locks. The one at the exhibit is Seeing Beyond, which I've written about HERE. I'll also have a piece called Determination, which is a smaller LED lit cast glass piece with a hand holding a spray can.

If you're able to make it to the exhibit, please give me a shout! i'll be there for the entirety of it and will also be giving an informal talk in from of my work at 12:30 on Friday.

SOFA expo Chicago
Festival Hall, Navy Pier 
600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
November 6-9th

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Explaining My Work: She Drowns The World With Her Sorrow

Continuing with the Explaining My Work series, I wanted to address a piece from my Alice Revisioned series.

She Drowns the World With Her Sorrow
Glass, Paint, Photo, Found Objects, Video
(Photo by Pete Duvall)

This piece comes from my series based on Alice in Wonderland. It is directly informed by the chapter Pool of Tears. Indirectly, it is informed by personal experiences. It is also a adapted remake of a piece in the original series I created in 2012.
Pool of Tears
(photo by Pete Duvall)
In 2012, I created a series based on the works of Lewis Carroll and exhibited at 410 Goodbuddy Gallery in Washington, DC.  (Here's an interview with the Huffington Post about the exhibit)  I was really happy with my approach to the pieces and my first inclusion of video in my work. I felt that there was still room for more piece in the series but didn't have the right opportunity to continue with it. in 2013 I was contacted by the College of Southern Maryland to Exhibit in their gallery. I waffled a bit on what I would created, considering a series based on the Wizard of Oz, or possibly simply random pieces without a unifying theme. I do like themes though. Earlier this year I settled on remounting the Alice series and knew that based on the size of the space i needed more works. I had in mind pieces that didn't quite work in the original batch, or that i just didn't have the time to complete. Since the original piece, Pool of Tears, was no longer available to exhibit, and I had an idea of how to make it differently, I set about creating/recreating She Drowns the World With Her Sorrow.
When first conceptualizing Pool of Tears, I had imagined a video of eyes crying behind a boat, inside of a room with drapery. The designed morphed a bit and I decided to include a video I had taken while on a kayaking trip on the Susquehanna River. The boat, the oar, little sea creatures stayed with the design.  With the piece being unavailable and the chance to remount the exhibit with additional pieces, I was able to rethink and fine tune my approach. I was certain I wanted to include my original idea for a child crying. I wanted to rethink not just the elements, but what I was trying to convey. I wanted to really think about the self pity aspect and the destructive part of that. And I wanted to make it a warning to myself. The piece is actually quite personal.

I'll talk about the different elements and how they came to be.
On the top section is a flat window pane with the image of a cargo ship. The image came directly from Cargo Ship, a piece from another series, The Luxury of Dreams.

Cargo Ship 
Glass, Paint, Photo

The image is part photo, part drawing, part photoshop. The pane of glass has been painted as well. I wanted to add another ship element to the piece, and a pretty open metaphor of the baggage that we carry with us. The load that weighs us down in the water. but also the things that we're able to transport to others. The Cargo Ship only exists because of the load it can carry. And I really wanted to draw connections to other pieces I've made. To draw a connectedness, to illustrate that these pieces are in the same world I'm connecting.

The main portion of the sculpture is a slump cast window glass pane. I carved the boat out of insulation foam and made a mold of it for the glass casting. The boat is the same boat from Pool of Tears, but this time with more people, and oarless, adrift in the current. but surviving.

The setting for this current is a section of rowhouses along First Street NW in Washington, DC. As with the cargo ship, the image is a photo that has been highly altered with drawings, photoshop, and paint. And was also taken from a piece in The Luxury of Dreams series.

The scenery represents the world around us, and the ramifications of what could be, and is, lost. This was my old neighborhood, a place I was quite found of, and worked tirelessly for through a home renovation, street clean ups, volunteer work, starting an neighborhood blog, and making murals on a few business. It was really the first and only place I've felt "home". The loss of place, even through a necessary direction in my life, holds a profound effect on me. Theres a lot going on in the piece for me. layered and with perhaps a blurred distinction between Alice, Home, The boats, the rising waters, and those in the boat. I think that we are all of those things simultaneously. The piece represents the destructiveness of self pity. It represents survival in the face of destruction and change. It represents the things and people we carry with us. It is a touching and beautiful moment in the book, and I wanted to bring a sense of that to my work, while adding my own world, and vision and viewpoint. For me it holds a warning, and a reminder, and a fear of sadness. It also holds hope and a means to move forward.
Also, as with most of the pieces in my Alice in Wonderland series, there is a hidden image of a rabbit.

What do you think?

Monday, October 13, 2014

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Outer Limit at Middleburg Arts Project in MIddelburg, VA Opens Friday

I''ll be showing at a new gallery in Middleburg, Virginia for the month of October. I'll be showing a mixe of pieces in a group show with artists that i know and love.

Opening Night: Friday October 10th 5-8
Meet The Artists: Saturday October 11th 1-6 PM

4 East Federal Street
Middleburg, Va

Middleburg Arts Project

To make the trek more enticing:

Nearby Restaurants
Nearby Wine Tastings

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Alive Revisioned!

There are only a few more days to see my solo exhibit at the College of Southern Maryland!

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 Hours:
Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

An Article about Bloomingdale DC

My friend Suzanne Des Marais wrote a wonderful piece on the Bloomingdale neighborhood in Washington, DC in District Home Magazine.

From 2003 until recently I lived in and loved the neighborhood. It was the first and only place that felt like home to me. I began the Bloomingdale Neighborhood Blog in the hopes of creating a place for people to find information on the area and to foster interaction and identity. It was a pretty fun time for blogging and especially for providing hyper local news. I learned a lot about the area and the city and met tons of neighbors. I took many photos of the neighborhood and started a flickr group for others to share their shots.

I no longer write for the blog but passed it on to a neighborhood stalwart Scott Roberts who contributes a dizzying amount of information for the neighborhood. 

The article mentions a bit of my work in the neighborhood; the painting on the back of Big Bear Cafe, the patterned paintwork at Boundary Stone, and the paintings on the side if Field to City. 

It also includes an image of a cast glass piece I made for Rustik Tavern. It doesn't mention the sign I painted for Grassroots Gourmet. My goal had been to work with all the businesses in the neighborhood, so I did pretty well with it. 

Really, it's the best neighborhood in Washington, DC and I'm pretty heartbroken to have had to leave it.

Read all about it and some neighborhood businesses here:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Explaining My Work: Ghost Lights

Diogenes At The Barter
Everyone that knows my work has noticed that I use the lightbulb imagery pretty often. Not everyone knows why.
I have two reasons, and they both were formed when I was an artisan at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia.

At the time, I was a recent graduate, trying to find a place in the world, trying to figure out what was what. I was intrigued by the story of Diogenes,  who would walk around with a lantern searching for an honest man. He slept in a large ceramic pot and lived in poverty, I could barely afford to eat and I slept behind the sofa in the kitchen of a friends apartment. I had also minored in Philosophy, so I was too heady for my own good. But most importantly, I was actively seeking my Karass. I was looking for an honest life.
I first painted Diogenes as myself inside a theatre. I had access to lots of scrap wood and pieces of sets after the shows would come down. The piece Diogenes at the Barter was from a door and measured roughly 9.5 feet tall by 4 foot wide. It was a monstrous piece for me. I depicted Diogenes holding his lantern surrounded by electrical wires and theatrical lighting. It was a product of my jumbled mind and living conditions at the time. Everything was crowded. Everything felt like a mosaic. Everything felt larger than life. My sense of the lantern evolved to utilize the background electrical wires and became a lightbulb. A Modern Diogenes.

The other image of a lightbulb came from a theatrical device know as the Ghost Light. A plain lightbulb set on a pole and stand, protected by a cage, with a long extension cord.  As a set painter, I often had to work late at night doing touch-ups after the show had come down, or work on set on Mondays when the theatre was closed. After everyone leaves the theatre for the night, the Ghost Light is set out. So, often it was me that set it out and i really loved doing it. Practically, it is a safety light to keep people from wandering around in the dark and falling of the stage. Superstitiously, and far more interestingly, it is to keep the ghosts of the theatre happy and comfortable. And everyone knows that all good theatres are haunted. I certainly recall some very creepy nights at the Barter Theatre. Here's an article about the Barter. Symbolically for me it is a beacon for something that may or may not exist. It is a metaphor of faith. Of constancy. And of hope and kindness.

Diogenes by Sean Hennessey
I began using imagery of lightbulbs, fire, and lanterns in a number of paintings. As a fan of creation stories, I imagined Prometheus as giving the gift of electricity and light instead of fire. And through that I imagined light bulbs to by symbols of consciousness. A spark of life given by the gods to set humans apart from other animals. I created small paintings of electrical outlets, of wires and switches, of sparks and of light bulbs. Sometimes i created larger more narrative pieces, such as Diogenes (pictured to the left).

This piece was the piece that actually made me start working more sculpturally. I wanted the lightbulbs, plugs and electrical outlets to pop out from the picture plane. At this point I began creating painted fiberglass castings and started to use real lightbulbs in the mold making process.

Soon I moved on from fiberglass to working in concrete. I created many concrete castings of lightbulbs to sell at street festivals and art fairs.
This produced lots of experimentation and surface treatments.

From plain concrete, to stained concrete, to gilded concrete, to painted concrete, to complex layering of tinted concrete


I then found the process of working in cast glass to be the most satisfying. This was my very first glass casting

I begin creating glass pieces with wild abandon, as often as I could. At first I made small singular lightbulbs that were individual pieces or attached to larger mixed media pieces. I began to develop narratives with the Lightbulbs in glass and deeply explored many possibilities. I added colored float glass to the pieces, colored frit to the pieces. I painted them with all kinds of paint. I gold leafed them. I even coated them with concrete. 

I continued to use the Lightbulb as a symbol of hope. of dreams. and of the inner strength we all have. I had always wanted to build a lightbox to display my pieces, but I really hate fluorescent tubes, I didn't want something inefficient, or to generate too much heat, or to create a lot of bulk in the piece.
Finally I found two products I liked and began backlighting my pieces which gave me the ability to do more complicated paint work on the glass. I decided that my first backlit pieces would be fairly large, The largest glass pieces i'd ever done in fact. 3 Foot by 2 Foot.

I have now created a number of backlit glass panels using the lightbulb( among the other pieces i make)
Our Dreams Make it Possible
A Relentless Offering

The Possibility
Ghost Light


Update this post to add my newest one

Heres a photo set of many more lightbulb pieces


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Coming up for 2014!

Here's a selection of the exhibitions I have lined up for this year.

Art Wynwood!
February 13 - 17, 2014
Miami, Florida
More Information


WPA's 33rd Annual Art Auction Exhibition and Gala.
February 27- March 21st
Washington, DC

42nd Glass International Glass Invitational
Royal Oak, Michigan
April 24-26th

"The Grace of Craft"
June 3rd to June 27th.
Capitol Arts Network
Rockville, MD

College of Southern Maryland
September 5 – October 5 gallery talk September 16
La Plata, MD