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Maker(s):Fasnacht, Heide
Culture:American (1951- )
Date Made:1985
Materials:laminated wood, enamel, acrylic and oil
Measurements:Overall: 29 in x 19 3/4 in x 28 15/16 in; 73.7 cm x 50.2 cm x 73.5 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2000.413
Credit Line:Gift of Steven M. Jacobson (Class of 1953)
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Wall sculpture constructed by joined thin strips of bent wood, some painted

Label Text:
Heide Fasnacht is known for working in both two and three dimensions. Her work is characterized by its inherent tension and force. Fasnacht describes the genesis of Portrait, saying: "I was interested in tools and agricultural equipment at the time and I had made this big thresherlike piece." Made in 1980, the piece, entitled Twain, was a large public installation that was ultimately damaged by vandals. After her initial anger dissipated, the artist turned this into a positive experience. A series of sculptures emerged from the fragments of Twain. Using the jagged pieces of laminated wood, Fasnacht hammered and glued together the shards, painting areas in unexpectedly gay colors, and created this portrait fraught with oppositions. This work is as much a helmet as it is a head. It is simultaneously aggressive and fragile; abstract, but figurative; open, yet enclosed. It suggests freedom and control, energy and repose, sorrow and hope. In Fasnacht's words, Portrait is:

. . . about the embryonic stage when the cranium is a crust for the brain and the face is a simple opening. The work is always on the cusp between the closed and the open. It's about boundaries. And the pieces are ultimately walls in the same way that the head is an enclosure separating the organism from the environment.

biology; heads

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