Lafayette College is fortunate to have award-winning artist, Mary Magsamen visiting April 4-5, 2011 as part of the newly established the Third Street Artist-In-Residence Program. Magsamen is most noted for her innovative work with husband, Stephen Hillerbrand. The duo has been working together for many years, collaborating on video art projects that often include collaborative performance. Their films have been screened and exhibited internationally including at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival, LA Freewaves New Media Art Festival, Stuttgarter Filmwinter, the Aurora Picture Show, Chicago Underground Film Festival and the Dallas Video Festival, the Hudson River Museum, Boston Center for the Arts Mills Gallery, Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film and the Dallas Contemporary.
Many of Magsamen’s projects often address issues related to language, identity, media and family in the context of a distinctly American cultural system. Her conceptual and metaphoric work is beautifully detailed and profoundly executed although at times, unexpected and shocking. She is often the subject of her work (as is her husband, Stephen Hillerbrand) as seen in the short film, “Cheese Puffs.” The couple takes turns submerging their faces in a tank full of water and cheese puffs until the water turned opaque with oil and it is filmed in such a way that they appear to be having some kind of conversation with each other. Their goal was to highlight middle class suburbia’s relationships with food, fast foods and chain food restaurants that most Americans are acutely familiar with. Magsamen is intrigued by anthropogenic and political relationships and enjoys exploring man’s relationship with his surrounding culture and the challenges humans face everyday. During her visit to Lafayette, Mary will be visiting classes, lecturing and even critiquing upper level students work. There will be a brown bag lecture open to the public at 12:15 pm on Tuesday April 5 in Williams 108.