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Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland

August 28, 2004 - February 14, 2004

AWE Gallery

Portraits from the Heartland examines the sculpture of Duane Hanson (1925-96) and its cultural connections to the midwestern United States. The exhibition consists of twenty-two lifesized sculptures, and is the first to focus primarily on the influence of his Midwestern origins on his artistic vision.

Hanson was a social realist who observed the everyday lives of a range of individuals in the American society. He admired ordinary people, including the underpriviledged and the elderly. Through his art, he sought to make the public aware of their presence and their contribution to society. Hanson developed a strong sense of social justice early in life, which enabled him to empathize with the plight of marginalized individuals.Over the course of his career, Hanson created sculptures whose subjects included people of different social and ethnic backgrounds. Their facial expressions are often introspective and contemplative. Our empathy towards them is heightended by their profession or social status, many gallery visitors have mistaken Hanson’s sculptures for actual people.

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