Heller Gallery is pleased to present Reverie Forest: Sanctuary for Strange Creatures, our second solo exhibition of new work by Brooklyn-based artist and designer Erica Rosenfeld. Paint-by-number kits as cultural artifacts and tools of 1950s conformity are the central theme and inspiration in the Reverie Forest: Sanctuary for Strange Creatures show. Rosenfeld has a longstanding fascination with the kits as a window into a period in US history when heightened political repression led to a period of fear and othering and encouraged mindless conformity. The exhibition includes forty Strange Creature painting-collages, two large original wallpaper designs based on altered, painted and collaged kits, as well as eight Cake Tower light sculptures inspired by them.
In her re-working of the paint-by-numbers, Rosenfeld transforms pastoral landscapes into peculiar habitats and adorable animals into unknown species, misfits and freaks and simultaneously provides them with the Reverie Forest, her imagined sanctuary. The Reverie Forest is represented in the exhibition as discreet vignettes curated directly from Rosenfeld’s studio: an environment rich with thousands of objects, collected as a material diary of her life and ordered into a cacophonous safe-haven, filled with mementoes from her network of friends and family.
Rosenfeld says that ‘the Reverie Forest can be a place of danger and asylum: wild and calm, eerie and familiar, earthly and spiritual, deadly and beautiful simultaneously. These dichotomies create an unknown magical environment which can lead its inhabitants into transformative emotional places. All creatures are welcome in this sanctuary and can find refuge from societal constraints and social punishment.’ Erica Rosenfeld received a BA in Fine Art from Kenyon College. A respected jewelry and lighting designer, her hybrid artistic practice has centered on the performative, sculptural and social aspects of glass and food-making. She is the co-founder of the performance collective Burnt Asphalt Family with whom she has appeared throughout the United States including at New York’s UrbanGlass, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Chrysler Museum of Art.
Her work will be featured in 2020 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, as part of the touring exhibition A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass. Rosenfeld’s work is held in private and public collections nationally and has been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY, Kentucky Museum of Art, Louisville, KY, Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI, Museum of American Glass, Millville, NJ and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI.