Kirsten Rae Simonsen: Country Living for Everyone

Benice
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    Home Sweet Home, 16" x 20," Graphite, gesso, watercolor and acrylic on wood panel, 2011

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August 22, 2011 - September 02, 2011
Academy Art Center, Mezzanine Gallery


Exhibition Overview

Opening reception: Monday, August 22, 5:30-7:30pm
Artist talk: August 18, 6-7pm @ Thirtynine Hotel (Chinatown) 

Artist Kirsten Rae Simonsen explores an odd, incongruent fantasy—Hawai‘i’s mock Tudor and French Norman cottage-style homes found in older neighborhoods. Following the 1920s boom in immigration from the West Coast of the United States, these new middle class homes were modeled on the “country living” look that was popular on the mainland.

“This fantasy of the American immigrant bringing ‘olde England’ to Hawai‘i was doubly strange,” says Simonsen, “as the Tudor revival style was artificial and invented to begin with, even in the UK.” Through her work, Simonsen asks, how did these immigrants envision Hawai‘i? What possessed them to build English and French Norman cottages here? How did they see their role in their new adopted home in the islands?