Sabrina Hornung:Jackalope Valentine, 2016
courtesy of the artist
“Stories, Sabrina and Scherenschnitte,” Paige Johnson, The Spectrum
“Jamestown woman gets grant to learn German, Polish paper-cutting arts,” Christopher J. Olson, The Jamestown Sun
Born in Jamestown, North Dakota, and a longtime resident of Fargo, Sabrina Hornung’s experience living and creating art along the rural-urban continuum has animated her work with both an appreciation of generational rural traditions and an eye for how this heritag is itself continually remixed in the contemporary moment.
Prompted by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts in 2015, Hornung was awarded the opportunity to pursue a traditional arts and apprenticeship program investigating wycinanski and scherenschnitte, the traditional arts of Polish and German papercutting, with Tower City, North Dakota artist Meridee Erickson-Stowman. This work is a result of that experience. Taking the form of an intricate valentine, this piece features the prominent “Jackalope,” a mythical animal of regional folklore described as a jackrabbit with antelope antlers.
Hornung’s contemporary practice in this form expands upon her own German heritage, and the impact of the social and familial space created by her grandparents, who emigrated to the United States in the 1950s.
“This had a big impact on my work because there was this cultural connection between Old Germany and rural North Dakota,” she relayed in an interview with The Spectrum, “(My grandmother) always had an eye for folk art. Our Christmas décor was, like, this traditional German art. She would often talk about scherenschnitte. Anything that was like, this high contrast, black and white images would strike a sentimental chord. She’d be like, ‘Oh, that’s scherenschnitte, this is cut paper!”’
Hornung’s engagement with traditional art continues through her partnerships with Erickson-Stowman and North Dakota State Folklorist Troyd Geist on The Tree of Life, a project that welcomes individuals in elder care facilities in the region to come together for storytelling and wycinanki papercutting. Like much of Hornung’s art, nostalgia finds a productive and healing outlet in this collective work – and draws from the past to create energy and new possibilities for understanding where we are right now.
In addition to her work in these forms, Hornung is a prolific photographer, mixed-media creator, and the Editor of the High Plains Reader. She attended Minnesota State University Moorhead for photography and has exhibited her work widely across the region, including the solo exhibition Trail Dust and Sentiment at Plains Art Museum in 2014.
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