Elizabeth Choi - The Anderson Gallery - Heide Fasnacht: Strange Attractors

On December 4, 2004, I visited the Anderson Gallery and observed an exhibit entitled Heide Fasnacht: Strange Attractors. It was composed of many two-dimensional as well as three-dimensional works of art. Fasnachtís most important two-dimensional work over the past decade was displayed in the exhibit. These works consist of the Sneeze series, the REM series, the new colored pencil Rain on Window series and the Explosion series from 1998-2001.


The Sneeze series was quite interesting. Sneeze IV was made by hand punctures through rag paper. The holes were mostly in the center of the paper and there was a fairly uniform pattern of dots. The dots were sort of in a grid and were arranged diagonally. Sneeze V was more abstract. Instead of hand punctures, the punctures were burnt into the rag paper. As you look from left to right across the paper, the holes became more concentrated. On the far right, there was a curvy design of holes. I could see some sort of face next to the curvy design. Perhaps, the face was the person from which the sneeze came. Big Sneeze was rather impressive. It was a three-dimensional piece made of polymer clay on rod. The entire piece was mounted on the wall such that a small point was in contact with the wall while the rest of the piece branched out from that small point. It really did look like a "sneeze" because the rods and clay branched out from a single point.

The REM series included six different pieces. They were all made from graphite and hand punctures on paper and consisted of holes connected by lines in different arrangements. REM I and III were similar because they had dark spots in various places on the paper. REM II and IV were similar in their arrangement of lines and holes. REM IV had white holes connected by white lines, which was unique in comparison to the other pieces. REM V had a pattern that was more centralized and closer-knit. Itís design resembled a constellation in the sky.


Other notable pieces include the three-dimensional works Breaking Glass, Precipitation, and Exploding Airplane. Breaking Glass was made of aqua resin. It seemed to spread out from a central point and had jagged edges just like glass has when it is broken. Precipitation was very unique. Cast polyurethane was shaped to look like raindrops in all kinds of shapes and sizes and they were placed all over the gallery floor. It truly looked like time froze for a moment and raindrops were just hitting the surface of the floor. Another three-dimensional piece was entitled Exploding Airplane. Polychromed neoprene and Styrofoam were pieced together to form an airplane that was bursting into pieces. The entire piece almost took up a whole room. The head, tail, and wings of the plane were all intact but separated from each other. In the center of the piece where the planeís body should have been, somewhat spherical pieces of debris were bunched together and gradually spread out from the center. Lines of debris projected from the center and were held in place by pieces of string.

In addition to these three-dimensional pieces, other two-dimensional pieces included Ticker Tape Parade I, Exploding Champagne Bottle, Rain on Window I, and Human Volcano. Ticker Tape Parade I was drawn with Quattro colored pencil on rag paper. It was very colorful and had many people in it. There were some white spaces in the drawing and you could see the strokes of the pencil as well. Colored pencil on rag paper was used for Exploding Champagne Bottle. The bottom of the bottle was still intact and faced outward toward the spectator. The upper part of the bottle was broken into jagged pieces of glass. Champagne covered most of the upper part of the paper, drawing oneís focus toward that part of the picture. Rain on Window I was a very detailed drawing sketched with colored pencil on paper. The droplets varied in size and seemed to stream down the windowpane realistically. The strokes of the colored pencil were easily seen. Human Volcano was quite interesting. It was drawn with graphite on paper and was composed of black and white dots. The background was black and there was a man on the right blowing a huge cloud of white smoke. The smoke also had areas of gray and black dots.


Overall, there was a wide variety of styles and subjects of the works in this exhibit. The two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces were very interesting and unique in their own way. Her work is a union of opposing forces of nature. Chaos predominates as well as more meditative and celebratory factions in her work. From observing Strange Attractors, I realize how appropriate the title of the exhibit was. Heide Fasnacht is a talented artist whose work ranges in style as well as subject, yet retains the same amount of brilliance in each piece.