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Indepth Arts News:

"Stephen Hendee: SuperThrive"
2000-01-20 until 2000-02-27
Rice University Art Gallery
Houston, TX, USA United States of America

Using foam board, electrical tape and fluorescent lights, New York artist Stephen Hendee will create SuperThrive, a glowing geometric ice cavern installation on view in the Rice Gallery from January 20 until February 27, 2000. Simultaneously inviting and mysterious, lush and barren, SuperThrive will appeal to audiences of all ages. The festive opening reception will take place January 20, 2000 from 5:30-7:30 PM. The artist will be present and offer remarks at 6 PM. Complimentary wine and handcrafted ales, courtesy of the Bank Draft Brewing Company, will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

Hendee combines the natural with the virtual, producing structures that inspire awe in the viewer. Outlined in black electrical tape that recalls the leading in stained glass windows, the surprisingly translucent skin of the backlit foam board panels casts a soft glow that shapes an unexpected place of solace. Angled geometric bends extend from floor to ceiling, creating pockets of light and shadow that physically enclose the viewer. Hendee describes this effect as creating a feeling of suspended time and isolation. You can beinside these pieces and feel like you are alone.

Captivated by these majestic structures, viewers will be startled by the realization that they are crafted from ordinary disposable materials

While Hendee’s spaces demand reverential pause, they have a cut-of-the-edge futuristic presence reminiscent of the ever-changing backgrounds of fast paced video games or the set designs for movies like Blade Runner or Tron. Entering the gallery is to enter an imaginary universe, a self-proclaimed fictitious space that positions the viewer as a foreign explorer negotiating unpredictable twists and turns in a private adventure. Hendee finds inspiration for this amalgamation of science and landscape, abstract art and popular culture, in sources as diverse as nanotechnology, computer design, early Constructivism, sci-fi novels and spelunking.

About the artist
Born in 1968 in Santa Monica, California, Hendee has known since the age of 15 that he would work as an artist. At Stanford University he worked with cardboard because he lacked funds for other materials. He began by creating small sculptures but soon found that the model expanded beyond the walls and people could walk inside the work. Hendee has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions including Bay Area Now, 1997, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Seeing & Believing: Naomi Fox, Neil Grimmer, Stephen Hendee, David Lindberg, 1998, Sculpture Center, NY, and Generation Z, 1999, P.S. 1, Institute for Arts and Resources, Long Island City, NY. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Stanford University. He was recently named a recipient of the prestigious 1999 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. Hendee lives and works in Newark, NJ.

SuperThrive will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue that includes an essay and color photographs of the installation. The catalog will be available in early February for $5 at Rice Gallery.

Public Programs - Gallery Talk
Artist Stephen Hendee will discuss his work at the free exhibition preview on Thursday, January 20, 2000 at 6:00 PM.

Food for Thought
Artists Stephen Hendee and Ernesto Neto both create sculptural environments using everyday materials. Neto’s site-specific installation, Nhó Nhó Navé, on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, December 19, 1999 - January 30, 2000, uses lycra to create a womb-like environment that visitors can enter and explore. The resonance between Hendee’s and Neto’s work is the focus of Food for Thought, a half day program of fascinating gallery talks and enticing food. Food for Thought will be held Saturday, January 22, 2000 from 10 AM until 2 PM. For more information about this program contact Karen Rapp of the Rice Gallery at 713.527.6069.

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