Catchment Basin/ Nedslagsfelt Bessenget

Helen Frederick and Sarah Zuckerman

Frederick and Zuckerman came together at George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia, in a reciprocal relationship of professor and graduate student and were delighted to find their mutual interest and heritage of Scandinavian countries. Frederick visited Norway in the 1970s under the auspices of a Fulbright Grant and exhibited at Hovikodden. Zuckerman visited Norway in 2011 for a residency opportunity at Kunstnerhuset i Lofoten. The Catchment Basin/ Nedslagsfelt Bessenget exhibition proposal is designed to bring their work and investigations back to Bergen, Norway to reengage them in a meaningful site of memory and experience. The exhibition Catchment Basin/ Nedslagsfelt Bessenget will immerse viewers to contemplate, through layers of meaning, their reaction to their surrounding natural world.

The two artists will bring their combined experience of narrative space by means of selected physical materials, sound, and ritual. They are excited to draw together their impressions that emanated from discoveries made in Norway when each was in their 20s in different generational times. The project is designed to combine the collaborative efforts of these two artists who are four decades apart, in order to utilize impressions they experienced when they were first called to Norway. Additionally this would allow them to explore new terrains in a renewed relationship with the site and population of Bergen.

The desire to return with an in-depth interactive experience for the Bergen community is intended to provide insight about the North Sea, the dual sense of self, and writing and translation as a ritual. Zuckerman’s constructions will embody materials that describe systems of measurement from movement, the realm of the invisible, and the wonder of the ocean. Frederick’s hand driven paperworks, word poems, and video projections will rely on knowledge acquired from walking the land while witnessing inner and outer phenomena. Her commitment to nature, diverse ecologies, and indigenous artisan communities guides her works.

The gallery space will hold sculptural floor projections, suspended sculptural elements created of copper wire, and cast and pulp painted paper. It will be used as a container for quiet reflection through experiential engagements and hands-on language based activity resourcing Norwegian and English.  The hands on activity will invite viewers to add and subtract their words upon elements of paper that the artists will create, which can be washed and reused. These papers will represent the catchment and mediation of the languages of Norwegian and English as well as a collection of personal recordings. The viewers will be asked what is precious to them about Bergen; what will last and what is endangered. The artists will bring small waxed paper vessels to hold water from the North Sea, along with sheets of hand-formed flax paper that they want to coat with fish oil from Bergen for the participants’ writings.  Eight bowls of water and eight watermarked papers will be put out for response that is seen as a reflection of the sixteen inflows to the North Sea from the Baltic Sea, Elbe, Weser, Ems, Rhine/Waal, Meuse, Spey, Don, Dee, Tay, Forth, Tyne, Tees, Humber, and Thames. The North Sea, with its many borders and inflows, is an intersection of language and barriers. Viewers will have time to consider the politics and poetics of translation and washed paper as symbols of endangered language and social environmental concerns. The community papers will be hung on one wall of the gallery as they accumulate. At the end of the exhibition period the collected papers will then be bound as an artist book artifact. 

Helen Frederick


Helen Frederick is known mainly for hand-driven media such as custom-formed paper, artist books, paintings, drawings, and prints that often incorporate the use of language. She also adapts electronic media and sculpture in her installations, and in 2016 exhibited an interactive work at The Phillips Collection, Washington DC. Frederick's work is included in the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC and many other national and international collections. Major exhibitions of Frederick's work have been held at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University, VA, Dieu Donne' Gallery, NY, Henie-Onstad Museum, Norway, and in traveling museum exhibitions in Japan, Scandinavia, Europe, Greece, The United States and South America. Frederick founded Pyramid-Atlantic, a center for contemporary printmaking, hand papermaking, and the art of the book, which she directed for twenty-eight years. As an advocate for and active participant in the Washington DC metropolitan area art scene for the last thirty years, she has served on the directorial boards of various local and national organizations and national peer review panels. She has exhibited and curated exhibitions and fulfilled speaking engagements around the world, always emphasizing collaboration across disciplines. Her recent interest lies in understanding how assimilated technologies grow from indigenous cultures and are a primary trajectory of this century. Currently she serves as Professor of Art, School of Art and Design, directs printmaking and enjoys working with graduate students at George Mason School of Art, Fairfax, VA, where she is director of the department's imprint Navigation Press, in tandem with her interest in coordinating international cultural projects. In 2008 she received the Southern Graphic Council International Printmaker Emeritus Award. She is featured in the Feminist Art Base, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and serves on the College Art Association Board of Directors.

Some recent exhibitions include: HELEN FREDERICK, 36-page catalog featuring one-woman exhibitions DISSONANCE, Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, at Hollins University, Roanoke, VA, and HUNGRY GHOSTS, Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin Gallery, published 2012;IN UNISON: and Twenty Washington DC Artists, Kenkeleba Gallery, NY.

Sarah Zuckerman


Video Images of "Ritual of Tides"

Copper wire and pigmented flax installation


Video of performance "Fiskehjell: 54 Stones"

Sarah Zuckerman’s work uses print, paper, constructions, and installations to explore the idea of the motion of measurement, the invisible, and memory. Zuckerman earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts in 2009 and her Masters of Fine Arts from George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia in 2016. Zuckerman has had solo exhibits at the George Mason University School of Art in Fairfax, Virginia, the H. Scott November Gallery in Richmond, Virginia, and the Lorton Workhouse in Lorton, Virginia. Recently, she participated in an artist residency through American University at GlogauAIR in Berlin, Germany. Currently she is an adjunct professor at George Mason University, as well as a Master Printer for Navigation Press.

Recently, Zuckerman’s work has been included in Verbal/Visual an exhibit featuring the dual aspects of research and creating and the National Collegiate Handmade Paper Art Triennial at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.