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Hartnell College Gallery Exhibition to Feature Works by Maureen Fenton-Hansen

April 9th, 2008


An exhibit of artwork by Maureen Fenton-Hansen - whose career as an artist and teacher spanned three decades in Monterey County- will be presented at the Hartnell College Gallery from April 7 through May. 3.
The exhibition features examples of her painting, printmaking, calligraphy and mixed media drawings.

An exhibit of artwork by Maureen Fenton-Hansen

Born in New York in 1945, Fenton-Hansen studied at the University of California at Santa Barbara where she earned a Master of Fines Arts degree in 1976. The earliest works in the exhibition are from a series based on colorful and often humorous shirt designs and patterns. They are graphically striking and show her interest in transforming the traditional rectangular format of paper into cut and assembled forms, said Gary Smith, gallery director and Hartnell art instructor.

Such recognizable imagery and conventional lithography technique was radically transformed by her move to Monterey County in 1977. Fenton-Hansen developed a strong new direction in her painting and drawing, first through her encounter with the vast scale and intricate patterns of the fields of the Salinas Valley, and then with ideas of Japanese design during her first visit to Japan in 1986. Fenton-Hansen used these new-found influences to create images based on geometric patterns and forms, especially repeated lines, in several series of paintings and drawings over the next two decades.

In 1977 Fenton-Hansen began her 30-year teaching career at Hartnell College in Salinas. Her classes included instruction in printmaking, calligraphy and jewelry making. While primarily known for her two-dimensional works in which she continued to explore new ideas and materials, Fenton-Hansen made periodic and significant experiments in sculpture, concentrating those efforts on small-scale metalwork and jewelry. She continued to travel extensively, gathering new influences and ideas as well as collecting materials to incorporate into her work from Asia, Europe, Australia and South America. From the mid-1980s until the end of her life in 2007, she worked on more formal pieces that evoke three-dimensional shapes and space. These works often incorporated fragments of her earlier prints and calligraphy. Maureen Fenton-Hansen will be remembered for the vigor of her art and her life, and for her commitment to her students.

The Fenton-Hansen exhibition is supported by the Hartnell College Foundation through the Burrel Leonard Bequest and the generosity of Ms. Joan Lam.

Gallery hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Mondays through Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public. A closing reception for the exhibition will be held in the Gallery on May 3 from 3-5 p.m.

For more information please contact Gary Smith, Hartnell College Gallery director at 831-755-6791.