Dig Baton Rouge

Inflate, Draw, Pour–The Art of Making Art

By Tara Bennett

For the observer, art is often seen only as an end product, but for the artist, it both product and process.

The Louisiana Arts and Science Museum (LASM) is going to take a look at that process with its exhibit, “Art in Action: Inflate, Draw, Pour,” featuring the works of contemporary artists Jason Hackenwerth, Heather Hansen and Holton Rower.
Each of these three noteworthy artists is known for their intriguing artwork, but the exhibit will focus on how the artists reached their final product.

“It’s a dynamic and exciting exhibition where the act of making art is just as important as the art itself,” said LASM Communications Coordinator Douglas Kennedy.

Hackenwerth is an internationally recognized artist who uses colorful latex balloons to create large-scale transformational sculptures over 30 ft. tall. He enjoys working in balloons because of their playful form, but he stressed his work is really about movement.

“Life is the dancer, and we are the dance,” said Hackenwerth.

New Orleans artist Hansen is known for contorting her body into carefully choreographed gestures while holding charcoal firmly in her hands. As she moves, the charcoal grates across the floor with the long trails resulting in a permanent recording of her physical movements.

The third artist, New York multimedia artist Rower, controls the pouring of successive layers of colored paint onto three-dimensional objects made out of plywood. The psychedelic designs are in part the effect of careful color selection, timing and pouring, as well as the less predictable result of gravity.

“Each of these artists uses science in their work,” said Kennedy. “Heather Hansen, in her series, the shapes she draws takes on the shape of an electron orbital. Of course, Jason has to use math and geometry to calculate how many balloons he needs and what shapes he needs, and Holton Rower has to use math as well to calculate the timing behind his work. This exhibition really speaks to our mission of connecting art and science in a dynamic and exciting way.”

Video documentation of each artist will be included in the exhibit, but Hackenwerth and Hansen will also be featured artists in residence at LASM, where they will perform their art process in front of guests. Hackenwerth will be constructing his second balloon installation at the LASM between Oct. 6 and Oct. 10, during regular business hours, and on Nov. 4, Hansen will discuss her work and create a new piece right before the audience’s eyes during the museum’s “Art After Hours” Program.

Examples of all three artists’ artwork will be on display in “Art in Action: Inflate. Draw. Pour” starting Oct. 4 until Jan. 4. The exhibit is one of the Baton Rouge components of the P.3+ Baton Rouge programming for Prospect New Orleans that begins this month.

“If you come, you will be both surprised and delighted at what you’re going to see,” said Kennedy. “Who doesn’t love giant balloon sculptures, and want to dance across canvas and just pour gallons and gallons of paint onto large plywood construct? You won’t be disappointed.”

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