New Exhibition: Ethereal Willow Sculptures by Martha Bird

Bird’s work, artist Susan Hensel says, “takes up the utilitarian practice of weaving fiber to tell stories about bodies—sometimes hurting, sometimes weak, but never broken, always resilient.”

Photos courtesy of Susan Hensel Gallery

Artist Susan Hensel opened her eponymous gallery in 2004 as an exhibition space and workplace in which she could create her unique small- and large-scale multi-disciplinary textile works. Today, though, the Susan Hensel Gallery is solely her studio, where the artist curates a window gallery—called the Windows on Cedar Project—where she exhibits new work by emerging Twin Cities artists.

Hensel also curates exhibitions that she presents on Artsy.net. Her current exhibition, “Body Work,” features exquisite, airy sculptures created by Minneapolis artist Martha Bird. A public health nurse, Bird integrates her life experience and research in her art. Using traditional basket-weaving techniques, she works primarily with willow, which she sustainably grows and harvests. The exhibition runs from November 15th, 2021, to January 15th, 2022, on Artsy.net.

Bird’s work, Hensel says, “takes up the utilitarian practice of weaving fiber to tell stories about bodies—sometimes hurting, sometimes weak, but never broken, always resilient.” The show includes Bird’s well-known spiral forms, which mimic organic geometry. Her sculptural objects also examine personal experiences of trauma and disability. (Bird experienced a debilitating injury that led to two years of bedrest, then reemerged as an artist.)

Bird’s work has been collected by the Newark-Arcadia History Center, the Minnesota History Center, and the National Cause Based Art Program. She has received multiple grants from the Minnesota State Art Board. She’s also an arts advocate, teacher, writer, arts organizer, curator, and presenter.

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