Hillerbrand+Magsamen's videos, photographs and installations reinterpret the people, activities and objects of their everyday life and engage the edge between the heroic and tragic. They navigate perceptions of identity, emotion and family within a uniquely American subjectivity.
As the collaborative husband and wife visual artist team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen draw upon the rich Fluxus practice of incorporating humor, performance, video and everyday objects and expand their personal family life into a contemporary art conversation about family dynamics, suburban life and American consumer excess. This new kind of "suburban fluxus" generates work that documents and re-contextualizes their objects and possessions of self, family and culture, the role of the camera in contemporary art and challenges presumptions of the everyday. Hillerbrand + Magsamen have worked together since meeting in graduate school at the Cranbook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where they both received their MFAs.
They have presented their videos in prestigious international film and media festivals including SCOPE Basel, WAND V Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, New York Underground Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival, LA Freewaves New Media Art Festival. Their cinematic based installations have been seen in Hong Gah Museum in Taiwan, the Hudson River Museum, Woodstock Center for Photography, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, and Houston Center for Photography. They have been awarded grants from Austin Film Society's Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, Ohio Arts Council, Houston Arts Alliance and a Carol Crow Fellowship from the Houston Center for Photography.
Hillerbrand+Magsamen live and work in Houston, TX with their two children Madeleine and Emmett.
Stephan Hillerbrand is a German/American educator, artist and arts activist who lives and works in Houston, Texas.
Hillerbrand earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (1989); a Masters of Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (Akademie der Bildenden Künste München), Munich, Germany (1992); and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (1994). Hillerbrand is currently an Associate Professor and Honors College Fellow in the Digital Media Program in the School of Art at The University of Houston.
As an educator, Hillerbrand is interested in the role that education plays in the trans-formative power of the visual arts. Hillerbrand's advocacy for teaching can be seen in his being awarded The CENTER, prize for Excellence in Teaching award (2012). In the Juror's Statement for the award, Kerry Skarbakka said "Stephan's passion and relentless drive to provide his students with the right type of educational foundation for a future of professional art making. I believe this to be one of the most important factors in art education today." Stephan Hillerbrand has been award The University of Houston's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) Ross M. Lence Award for Teaching Excellence (2011) and The University of Houston's university wide Teaching Excellence Award for outstanding commitment to teaching (2012). He participated in the Fulbright German Studies Seminar, "Visual Culture in Germany," Berlin, Germany (2003). He received a Fulbright Junior Scholar Fellowship (2006) to conduct research at Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in Karlsruhe, Germany, to see how new technologies were affecting European art schools and academies. He is a Carl Duisberg International (CDS) Inc., Cologne, Germany recipient (1991).
Hillerbrand has written and lectured nationally on the subject of education in the visual arts. Lectures have included national conferences for the Society for Photographic Education (2013, 2012, 2006); the College Art Association (2009, 2007, 2006); the University Film and Video Association (2006); and the Foundations in Art, Theory and Education (2007, 2005).
Hillerbrand is an active member of the Society for Photographic Education and the College Art Association. He currently serving his second term on the Board of Trustees of the Houston Center for Photography an Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program at the University of Houston.