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Mike Hansel MFA

Selected artist profile information for this contemporary American Sculptor
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Sculptor Mike Hansel MFA
Mike Hansel

About Mike Hansel

ESSAY: Irony is a tactic of indirection: it works by implied or suggested contrasts. Verbal irony hinges on a difference between what is said and what is meant; dramatic irony relies on a difference between what the audience knows and what a character knows. Visual irony can spring from the difference between the apparent and the actual. Michael Hansel`s own declared intention `to satirize function`, by juxtaposing natural and mechanical elements, hints at one source of irony in his work. Irony is inherently complimentary to the recipient: it supposes that we are sophisticated enough to be aware of the contrast underpinning it. Hansel`s work does not put up barriers to the viewer; instead it makes an implicit invitation to us, to be accessories to its incisive critique. Finally, irony here is a playful mode: it invites our laughter rather than our scorn. Hansel`s pieces reflect the play of his sensibility, and the element of humour is one of their essential components. Humour is everywhere, visible first in the inherently amusing shapes of some pieces. There is something incongruous about the bulbous clam-neck protrusions of Amanda`s Sea, the seed-pod container of Passive Enclosure and the snout of Aggressive Enclosure. Hansel feels that art should not be intimidating (although he admits that some pieces are occasionally taken to be `scary`). His crusade against pretentiousness is one of the personal elements that has determined the course of his art. `I want the process to be enjoyable`, he says; as a result, the viewer is permitted to take pleasure in the work, too. Another sort of delight arises from the titles of the pieces, from Amanda`s Sea and its reference to the C-shape of the sculpture, to the transgressive fun of violating a grammatical taboo in Split Infinitive, to the emulsion of submarine/Pacific/baby-calmer in Submersible Pacifier. Still another source of ironic humor waylays the viewer who tries to reconcile the list of materials and the implications of the titles. Floating Device, made largely of the most `sinking` elements, lead, copper, and steel, is a case in point. Irony is at play in these works, too, in the contrasts of their varied surfaces and textures: smooth varnish and matte patina, reflective polish and acid-etching, cold pitted metal and warm grained wood. The apparent coating of rust, nature eating at man-made steel, is in actuality a protective finish. A further contrast is at work in the tension between the lovely tactile surfaces and the spare, pared-down forms. `I prefer to...strip away information`, Hansel says, and the result can be seen in the visible supports, the exo-skeletons, of his pieces. The ribs are an armature for the surfaces, but they suggest as well an important theme: connection. It`s easy to see these pieces as referring to sexual connection: each piece combines both thrusting and containing shapes. Sexuality is certainly one way we connect ourselves, but these pieces can`t be reduced to that single dimension. Their images of probing and containing tell the story of our human compulsion to know the world around us and to incorporate it somehow into ourselves. We do this consciously, and the work seems to replicate the deliberate extension of our sense into the space around us, and the feeding of that sense-data back to our brain. Another way we make sense of the world is through dreamwork, and here the contradictions of these pieces make intuitive sense. In dreams the constraints of the everyday world do not operate, and notably, the laws of gravity are suspended. In the surrealistic universe of dreams, the Floating Device would be buoyant in air or in water, drifting out to collect sense-impressions and gather them under its thought-umbrella. In our subconscious world, too, sense evidence is integrated with empirical evidence by the same laws that apply in dreams. Nothing could be less ethereal than the actual production of these works, however. They are made in clouds of steel-and-sand dust, showers of sparks, and the screams of grinders. In the Hansel studio the arc-welder, plasma cutter, oxyacetylene torch, sandblaster, and acid bath replace genteel palettes and brushes. Each piece is carefully composed, professionally crafted, and extremely stable (another irony, given the implied movement of many pieces). Their structural integrity is as important to the artist as their finish. The point is that they must look functional, as well as organic: they must combine the randomness of flotsam with the purposefulness of engineering. There`s no doubt that the formal qualities of Hansel`s works are what strike the viewer most readily. The recurrence of curved lines in combination with the restraint resulting from abstraction means that a baroque/classical tension informs many pieces. At the same time, the love of texture, the attention to surface, and the precise craftsmanship, mean that the works are inherently lyrical. The forms may be imposing, but they are never severe: each piece literally reaches out to interact with the space shared by the viewer. The evocation of aesthetic pleasure and of the infinite, the embrace of elegance and of grace, must give heart to viewers who feared that beauty in art had become politically incorrect. For the intellect, the challenges of irony; for the eye and hand, tactile and formal satisfaction: this is work that balances the aesthetic and intellectual in playful seriousness. Patricia Lothrop-Green, March, 2001.
Sculptor Mike Hansel MFA
Mike Hansel

Exhibition History of Mike Hansel

Mike Hansel`s SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2010 BANISTER GALLERY, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE, Providence, RI
One person show, `Mike Hansel: Sculpture In All It`s Parts`
BRISTOL COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Fall River, MA
Group show in Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery.

2009 SCULPTURE IN THE STREETS, Albany, NY
public outdoor art exhibit.
`ALL POINTS WEST` MUSIC AND ART FESTIVAL, Jersey City, NJ
Large scale installation at Liberty State Park public event `All Cylinders`
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, Kalamazoo, MI
`Sculpture Tour` of large-scale outdoor media on campus.
PITTSFIELD PUBLIC ART PROGRAM, Pittsfield, MA
Two year installation of `Inflatable solid` in downtown location.

2008 LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY, Farmville, VA
Brock Commons Public Art Program, `Intestinal Fortitude`.
`ALL POINTS WEST` MUSIC AND ART FESTIVAL, Jersey City, NJ
Large scale installation at Liberty State Park public event `Cause and Effect`
CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE AT CHESTERWOOD, Stockbridge, MA
National juried exhibition.

2007 SUNY FERDONIA, Ferdonia, NY
Two year installation `Loose Ends` on college campus.

2006 PORT WARWICK ART AND SCULPTURE FESTIVAL, Newport News, VA
National juried exhibition; `Male Balding Pattern`, Public Art Foundation

2005 SUNY FERDONIA, Ferdonia, NY
Two year installation `Bristling` on college campus.
NEWPORT ART MUSEUM, Newport, RI
Juried members show, Best Sculpture Award
ART IN PUBLIC PLACES, Stamford, CT
Invitational show in downtown Stamford.
PORT WARWICK ART AND SCULPTURE FESTIVAL, Newport News, VA
National juried exhibition; `Intestinal Fortitude`, Public Art Foundation, Best of Show

2004 DeCORDOVA MUSEUM, Lincoln, MA
Large-scale installation in outdoor sculpture park
DEERFIELD ACADEMY, Deerfield, MA
One person show
CAMBRIDGE ART ASSOCIATION, Cambridge, MA
National Prize Show, juried by Robert Fitzpatrick.

2003 `NAVY PIER WALK 2003`, Chicago, IL
International outdoor sculpture show juried by David Pagel.
`ISC@GFS` ISC MEMBER JURIED EXHIBITION, Hamilton, NJ
International juried show at the `Grounds For Sculpture`
SOHO20 GALLERY CHELSEA, New York, NY
National show juried by Janet Koplos, senior editor, Art in America, Best of Show
WHEELER GALLERY, Providence, RI
Two person invitational show.
BRISTOL ART MUSEUM, Bristol, RI
Two person invitational show

2002 `CONVERGENCE ART FESTIVAL`, Providence, RI
Large-scale outdoor sculpture: `Bristling`, steel, cast pewter, bronze.
WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY, Silver City, NM
Three person invitational show.
SKIDMORE COLLEGE, Saratoga Springs, NY
One person show, the Schick Gallery outdoor sculpture space.
BRISTOL COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Fall River, MA
Group show in Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery.

2001 `CONVERGENCE ART FESTIVAL`, Providence, RI
Large scale outdoor sculpture: `Innerchange`, steel, bronze.
BRIDGEWATER STATE COLLEGE, Bridgewater, MA
One-person show
NEWPORT ART MUSEUM, Newport, RI
One-person show, `Industrial Daydreams, sculpture by Michael Hansel`

2000 NEWPORT ART MUSEUM, Newport, RI
`Thirteenth Annual Juried Members Exhibition`, Best of Show
SOUTH COUNTY ART ASSOCIATION, Newport, RI
`Five Rhode Island Artists`
SUYDAM DIEPENBROCK GALLERY, Newport, RI
One person show

1998 NEWPORT ART MUSEUM, Newport, RI
`Eleventh Annual Juried Members Exhibition`, First Prize sculpture division

1997 `CONVERGENCE ART FESTIVAL`, Providence, RI
Large sculpture, `Floating Device`, placed in lobby of One Citizens Plaza
NEWPORT ART MUSEUM, Newport, RI
`Tenth Annual Juried Members Exhibition`, Charrette Merit Award
WARWICK ART MUSEUM, Warwick, RI
Regional juried exhibition
DUBLOIS GALLERY, Newport, RI
`Michael Hansel-Sculpture, Renee Bissell-Paintings`

1993 ARTS CENTER OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY, New Milford, NJ
"National Juried Show" Jurors: Harvey Dinnerstein, L. Goulet, William Scharf
WATCHUNG ARTS CENTER, Watchung, NJ
Four person show, "Quatro", awarded through regional competition

1992 A. J. LEDERMAN FINE ART GALLERY, Hoboken, NJ
"Breaking Space, Selected New Jersey Artists"
ARTS CENTER OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY, New Milford, NJ
"National Juried Show", First Prize sculpture division. Juror: Cynthia Goodman.
TRENTON CITY MUSEUM, Trenton, NJ
"Ellarslie Open XI", national juried exhibition
SEYMOUR BERGER CENTER FOR THE ARTS, East Hills, NY
Open juried art exhibition, First Prize sculpture.

Mike Hansel

Biography / CV of Mike Hansel

Sculptor and Art Educator, Mike Hansel, has been actively producing contemporary art work for over 30 years. Living most of his life in New England, he currently resides in Newport, RI where he teaches studio art and creates large scale metal sculpture. His work resides in many private collections, and he has installed numerous large scale public sculptures in museum venues and college campus sites. Mike Hansel`s work has become known for his ability to create highly crafted, organic pieces that contradict what we might expect from such rigid, industrial materials.

Artist Statement of Mike Hansel

Mike Hansel`s ARTIST STATEMENT:

Through my sculpture, I attempt to satirize function while also suggesting a conceptual relationship between life and industry. My primary method is to create industrial looking forms, which serve only aesthetic purposes.

The contrasting relationship between hard and soft forms is the basic component of how I interpret things visually. Their interaction is, in one way or another, the overriding concept in all the objects that I have made. Each piece, I think, tells a slightly different story. Some suggest a tranquil association between two very different components. Others allude to machines that can manipulate organic things and sometimes plant-forms start to take on mechanical characteristics. All of them attempt to illustrate the sense of irony that seems to exist when forms are separated from their function.

Much of my energy and thoughts are spent in the pursuit of shapes and forms that will represent these concepts. Finding these shapes is a constant challenge. Numerous preliminary drawings lead to experiments in various plastic materials, such as clay. I prefer to start with familiar objects and strip away information until they become less and less recognizable. The resulting forms are references to, rather than literal representations of machines or plants. My goal is to create finished compositions that leave the viewer with the comfort of familiarity and the uncertainty of not being able to truly identify or categorize any of the forms.

The materials have been chosen because of the reference they make to industry. Steel has long been associated with durability and utility but I make every effort to focus attention on the materials appearance. I tease the viewer by suggesting that they might have been designed to perform some sort of task. The materials are distressed in an effort to reproduce the effects of use or age. These are further clues pointing to the notion that these objects may have experienced a former life. Although it sometimes appears that these are `found objects`, this is not the case. My ideas go through many re-evaluations during the design process and construction of the sculpture. I make an attempt to generate and develop ideas through preliminary drawings. It is very rare, however, that I am able to plan out a finished sculpture on paper. Many corrections or design revisions are made during the construction of each piece. The experience is always one of inquiry that often leads to unforeseen forms and compositions.

Symposiums

Mike Hansel`s Symposiums
LECTURES

2008 LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY, Farmville, VA
ROCKY HILL SCHOOL, East Greenwich, RI
2007 NORTH CAROLINA A and T STATE UNIVERSITY, Greensboro, NC
2005 WHEATON COLLEGE, Norton, MA
2003 SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY, Newport, RI
UNIVERSITY of MASSACHUSETTS at DARTMOUTH, North Dartmouth, MA
2002 SKIDMORE COLLEGE, Saratoga Springs, NY
WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY, Silver City, NM
2001 NEWPORT ART MUSEUM, Newport, RI
BRIDGEWATER STATE COLLEGE, Bridgewater, MA.

Acquisitions / Collections of work by Mike Hansel

Mike Hansel`s Ac2qusitions
VILLAGE of OAK PARK, Oak Park, IL
FIDELITY BANK, Providence, RI
LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY, Farmville, VA
DeCORDOVA MUSEUM, Lincoln, MA
NEWPORT ART MUSEUM, Newport, RI
ST. GEORGE`S SCHOOL, Newport, RI
SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY, Newport, RI
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, Fredonia, NY
GOLDENVOICE PROMOTIONS, Los Angeles, CA WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, Kalamazoo, MI.

Qualifications / Education of Mike Hansel

Mike Hansel;s EDUCATION

1986-1989 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, Philadelphia, PA
Graduate School of Fine Art
Master of Fine Art, Sculpture

1982-1986 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI, Cincinnati, OH
College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning
Bachelor of Fine Art, Ceramics; Summa Cum Laude.

Teaching Experience

Mike Hansel`s TEACHING EXPERIENCE

1993-pres. ST. GEORGE`S SCHOOL, Newport, RI
Chairman of the Art Department
The J. Vaughan Merrick III Chair in Architecture, Art History and Painting
Teacher of foundation studies, 3-D design, sculpture, and Advanced Placement studio art courses.

2004 SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY, Newport, RI
Adjunct Professor of Sculpture

2002 WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY, Silver City, NM
Instructor of summer course in metal fabrication.

1990-1993 THE PEDDIE SCHOOL, Hightstown, NJ
Teacher of sculpture, ceramics, woodworking and drawing.

Price Range of Work

Mike Hansel's work has a price range from £1,575 to £45,000

Mediums utilised

Mike Hansel's work is found in the following materials:

Artwork Categorised

Mike Hansel's work is found in the following categories on site:
Abstract Modern Contemporary Avant Garde Sculptures Statues statuettes figurines statuary both Indoor Or outside (10)
Abstract Contemporary or Modern Outdoor Outside Exterior Garden / Yard Sculptures Statues statuary (9)
Garden Or Yard / Outside and Outdoor Sculptures (8)
Tubular Abstract Contemporary Post Modern Steel or Aluminium / Statues or Sculpture (6)
Modern Abstract Contemporary Avant Garde Sculptures or Statues or statuettes or statuary (6)
Abstract Contemporary or Modern Large Public Art sculpture Statues statuary (4)
Abstract Loop Indoor and Outside Sculptures / Statues / statuettes (2)
Stainless Steel Abstract Contemporary Modern Sculpture (2)
Construction Abstract Sculpture Statues (2)
Minimalist Understated Abstract Contemporary Sculpture statuary statuettes (2)
Fabricated Metal Abstract sculpture (2)
Monumental Sculptures
Public Art Sculpture
Organic / Abstract Sculpture
Spiral Twisted sculpture / statue / carving
Commission and Custom and Bespoke sculpture Statues
Repetitive Form / Shape Abstract Sculptures / Statues
Monumental Contemporary Abstract Modern Sculptures
Small / Little Abstract Contemporary Sculptures / Statues
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