Hanging Gardens Create Enchanting Landscape Inverted Harmony: A Handmade Environment by Jenine Bressner at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Posted December 22, 2010 in Press Releases

Next month, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) presents Inverted Harmony: A Handmade Environment by Jenine Bressner, an installation of cascading, handmade glass chandeliers; LED lights; and layered textiles. The environment mimics lush gardens but uses bright colors and light-emitting diodes to create a surreal landscape. The show runs January 22 – March 13, 2011, in the small gallery at HCCC.Bressner’s illuminated hanging gardens are made of lamp-worked glass, paired with laser-cut and hand-painted fabrics. The space is transformed not only from above, but also from below. Underneath each glass chandelier, the fabrics create three-dimensional quilted clouds. Thus, the gardens hang above a sky, inverting the traditional concept of what is above or below, and presenting the viewer with an elaborate and enchanted transformation of space.

Bressner describes how craft has always been a part of her life, as she grew up “making things by hand.” With society’s current fascination with technology, she is torn between using a machine and staying true to a handmade object. Inverted Harmony reflects these disparate aspects of her artistic process. She uses a digital laser cutter, a contemporary tool, to assist her with speed and accuracy when cutting textiles. However, her glass work continues to employ the use of traditional techniques. All of her glass is lampworked, a technique widely practiced during the 14th Century in Murano, Italy. Using a gas-fueled torch, she melts rods of glass, which are then blown and manipulated into shapes using various tools.

As part of her two-year post at HCCC, Curatorial Fellow Anna Walker curated this inventive solo show. Walker says, “I’m interested in how the computer has evolved to become a tool for the contemporary craftsperson. Although craft is associated with the handmade object, behind many of those traditional objects are tools, such as the torch, lathe, or wheel. In Inverted Harmony, Jenine Bressner reconciles the ideas of hand- and machine-made objects and illustrates a desire for harmony between two concepts that often display a contentious relationship.”

Bressner began her schooling at the Maryland Institute College of Art before receiving her BFA in Glass from Rhode Island School of Design in 2001. Bressner was one of the featured artists in a recent documentary by Faythe Levine, Handmade Nation, which chronicles the indie and D.I.Y. arts scenes. She is currently attending the Fab Academy in Providence, Rhode Island, a school through Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.

Exhibition Dates
January 22 – March 13, 2011
Opening Weekend Events (all events at HCCC unless otherwise noted)
Opening Reception: Friday, January 21, 5:30 – 8:00 PM

Ruffled Accessories Workshop with Jenine Bressner
Saturday, January 22, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM (at Sew Crafty Houston)

Handmade Nation Reception & Film Screening
Saturday, January 22, 6 – 8 PM (at Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main Street)
Presented by Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Aurora Picture Show, and Lawndale Art Center, with generous support from St. Arnold Brewing Company, Etsy Houston, and Domy Books. Handmade Nation is a documentary about the new wave of art, craft and design. Artist Jenine Bressner is featured in the film. Reception includes a DIY activity and Handmade Nation book sale. Film starts at 7:00 PM. Free admission.
Jenine Bressner Gallery Talk: Saturday, January 22, 8:15 PM

Mary Headrick (mheadrick@crafthouston.org)
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
713.529.4848 x 107