Bridgeport’s Housatonic Museum of Art hosts Rachel Owens’ ‘The Hypogean Tip’ exhibit
A new exhibit with connections to local history is opening at Bridgeport’s Housatonic Museum of Art on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Artist Rachel Owens’ exhibit “The Hypogean Tip,” which explores both Bridgeport’s and the larger nation’s past, will run through Saturday, March 21.
The show features sculptures rendered in various materials, including large-scale casts in broken glass from the porch of the Bridgeport home of Mary Freeman (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and works cast in coal and marble dust that invoke P.T. Barnum’s specter, as well as his adverse impact.
An opening reception with the artist will take place Feb. 6, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., in the Burt Chernow Galleries. The free, open-to-the-public event will include light refreshments.
Focusing on the relationship between what was before and what is to come, Owens’ work weaves together, both literally and figuratively, the surface and substrata of the ground to reveal its structure, material and history, according to a news release.
The porch sculptures, part of an ongoing project titled “Life on the Other Side of a Cracked Glass Ceiling,” are a platform for visitors to climb and stand on while reimagining the site and the accounts it holds. This portion of the exhibit allows visitors to reimagine the radical past of the Freeman sisters and offers the potential for recreation.
Industrialization and capitalistic forces quickly swept away most of a bourgeoning community and have caused generations of both ecological and human collateral in the area. In the back gallery, a stovepipe hat becomes a smokestack, “shellscapes” cast from exoskeletons found along Long Beach and the Great Meadows Marsh, and an amphibious figure focus on the underlying causes for the decimation of Little Liberia.
The word Hypogean comes from the Greek words hypo (under) and Gaia (earth) together meaning underground. From the sea bed to coal-burning to stepping above and re-experiencing our community, the show is both a tip, as in a bit of information and a tip, as in toppling, of our expectations of what is above and what is below.
Programming to accompany the exhibition:
On Thursday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m., Lachell Workman