Hillerbrand+Magsamen: Mandala and Covering
Collaborative artists Hillerbrand+Magsamen (Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen) happen to be a husband and wife team who mine their lives for inspiration. They have turned the idea of family on it’s head, using their familial unit as the basis for their art. On March 8th, they opened an exhibition, Home Improvement, at the Galveston Arts Center sponsored by DARKE | gallery of Houston, Texas. Their work draws upon the rich Fluxus practice of incorporating humor, performance, video art and everyday objects. Expanding their personal family life into a contemporary art conversation about family dynamics, suburban life and American consumer excess which they call “suburban fluxes”.
“In Home Improvement, they present two new bodies of work, Mandala and Covering each dealing with the question of memory. After the loss of a family member, the artists question how their own children will remember them as they grow older. In the Covering photographs, the artists intentionally obscured their faces with house hold objects to question “Do you remember the face of some one you cared about but is no longer with us?”
Hillerbrand+Magsamen have presented their videos in prestigious international film and media festivals including SCOPE Basel, WAND V Stuttgarter Filmwinter, New York Underground Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival, LA Freewaves New Media Art Festival.
Their photographs have been exhibited with the Hudson River Museum, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Blue Sky Center for Photographic Art Portland, Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, Indianapolis Art Center and Houston Center for Photography. They have been awarded grants from Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund, Ohio Arts Council, Houston Arts Alliance and a Carol Crow Fellowship from the Houston Center for Photography.
They live and work in Houston, Texas with their two children, three dogs and a chicken.
Our previous work was about our accumulation of stuff in our home – everything from toys to lawnmowers. We cut holes in our walls, climbed up piles of stuff and surrounded ourselves in our mass of stuff. We are now taking that chaos and creating order through a series of Mandalas. A Mandala is defined as a circular design of the universe and also as a symbol expressing a person’s striving for unity of the self. In an effort to unify our home and family, we have created a series of large photographs of Mandalas where we have organized the stuff from our home such as Barbies, Legos, books and all those crazy little plastic items into circular patterns.
Covering Series deals with how we experience the absence of family as we grow older. In the Covering photographs, created after the death of a family member, white sheets are used to obscure faces as well as to tie, hold and connect them as a family.
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