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An art exhibit titled “Nenettes or the Labyrinth of the Mind” can be seen now through Nov. 19 at the Frank House, located on the University of Nebraska at Kearney West Campus.
The show title “nenettes” is a French word meaning “girlie, feminine women.” The exhibit is by Sabrina Albiero, a UNK graduate student from France. Albiero describes the exhibit as “a total installation of art.” “Nenettes or the Labyrinth of the Mind” will be on display at the Frank House during regular Frank House hours, which are 2-5 p.m. Monday – Friday and noon – 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
The official opening for the installation will be this Saturday (Nov. 12). In addition, Albiero will lead a Saturday at the Frank House workshop beginning at 1:30 p.m. The workshop, titled “Motif Worship,” is intended for youth ages 6 to 14 years of age. Youth are to be accompanied by an adult. At 2:30 p.m., Albiero will give an artist’s talk about her installation and artist’s process.
“When you go to a gallery, you just look at the art work. But, when you go in an installation, a total installation, you’re not just looking at it,” Albiero said, “but you’re feeling it with all your body. That’s what I want you to feel as you travel through the labyrinth.”
Albiero said she wants to “put people in a space that is completely unknown” in her installation. Her art pieces will be totally enclosed, so that each piece is individual, and there is nothing from the outside to interact with the piece.
At the beginning of the installation are simple oil pastel and ink drawings, along with some prints. Albiero describes these as the beginning of her research.
“I am trying to find who she is, and trying to find a medium to represent her in a really good way,” Albiero said.
The second stage contains a patchwork quilt of prints Albiero started in France, when her printmaking teacher told her she needed to try to find a better way to present the piece.
“I didn’t want to present the framed (pieces) like the first ones,” Albiero said. “I want to say much more with them, and the installation was the way to have the viewer say, ‘Is it real? Is this their stuff, and we just missed them? What’s going on?’”
Albiero also worked with a printmaking teacher at UNK to put together a fabric print photo album using the same prints as the quilt.
Albiero said, “The photo album gives more information on them, their house, what they have.” However, the people are not yet visible.
The next stop of the installation is the nenettes’ house. Albiero used a doll house, but changed the floor plans to her liking, and enclosed the doll house. Albiero said that the closed house leaves the viewer wondering who these people are.
“You can learn a lot about people from their personal items,” Albiero said.
“As an independent study, I worked with someone different on each piece. Sometimes, when you are an artist and you do everything on your own, you do not always get the effect that you want,” she said. “So, working with those people was very helpful, because they would give me their impressions on things.”
One of the people Albiero worked with was Janice Fronczak, UNK associate professor of theatre. Fronczak gave Albiero the idea to give her nenettes a voice. Albiero wrote a monologue of a video with four people.
“It’s more of an aspect of dreaming than of telling a story,” Albiero said, “but it’s also responding to some of the things going on in the labyrinth – the piece, the smell.”
Albiero described the nenettes as, “… the women who influenced me, the women who helped me and were important to me. It’s kind of like a commemoration to all those women in my life, and they are the past, they are the present, and they are the future. The video is kind of representing that.”
The installation was first shown at the Museum of Nebraska Art. “At MONA, they had red and yellow walls, and it was a lot bigger. I had to use a lot of wood and fabric to enclose the labyrinth to get the right feeling. At the Frank House, it is a lot smaller, and I am creating a new interior in an old house,” she said.
“The labyrinth is like the artist’s mind. You know you’re going somewhere, but you feel lost at the same time. You don’t really know what all those things will be together. At the end, you realize that altogether this work makes sense. It’s not that scary, finally.”
Albiero concluded: “Art is about what touches us deep down inside, not just about things we don’t agree with. That’s how I feel about my show.”
While “Nenettes or the Labyrinth of the Mind” is free and open to the public, KrisAnn Sullivan, director of the Frank House, noted: “Donations helped refurbish the master bed chamber area and will be put to good use as we begin the other planned improvement projects in the Frank House. Saturday at the Frank House educational program volunteers help make the public aware of the needs of the house and the public responds. Donations are always appreciated in support of the Frank House.”
Upcoming Saturdays at the Frank House programs include: Dec. 3 “The Studio 237 Barbershop Quartet”; Dec. 10 “Loper Low Brass”; and Dec. 17 “Happy Holiday Tours.” For more information, visit: www.frankhouse.org.