Artists Heidi Schwegler and Quayola look to the past to reflect on contemporary experience and concerns.
Wear and tear are visual cues of a thing’s history, its former life of use and purpose. Plane of Scattered Pasts, a new exhibition opening at Upfor Gallery (929 NW Flanders, 503-227-5111) on May 1st, offers ways of thinking about objects, their histories and their inexorable fragmentation through sculptures by Heidi Schwegler and video by Quayola.
In this exhibition, sculptures by Heidi Schwegler amend old or broken things by recasting and embellishing their forms. Their original states, whether ordinary or monumental, are reoriented by Schwegler in terms of aesthetic value, ruminating on the pleasures and perils of aging, for objects and all of us. Schwegler explores a wide range of materials in the service of her subject matter. Drawn to the peripheral ruin, she deftly incorporates found objects with traditional craft and sculpture media.
Schwegler’s accolades include an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, Hallie Ford Fellowship and two a MacDowell Colony Fellowships in the Visual Arts. She was artist-in-residence at MacDowell Colony, Pilchuk, Yaddo, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Bullseye Glass Company, among others. Schwegler is based in Yucca Valley, CA where she co-founded the Yucca Valley Material Lab. She is represented by Upfor.
As the camera pans, the religious scene is punctuated by growths of abstract shapes, interrupting and sometimes overwhelming the historical artwork with contemporary forms.
Quayola’s immersive video, Strata #1, focuses on a single monumental work from his native Rome: a 17th-century ceiling fresco by Giovanni Battista Gaulli. As the camera pans, the religious scene is punctuated by growths of abstract shapes, interrupting and sometimes overwhelming the historical artwork with contemporary forms. Both layers of imagery are rooted in the geometry and iconography of perfection, divided by the strata of time.
Quayola employs technology as a lens to explore the tensions and equilibriums between seemingly opposing forces: the real and artificial, figurative and abstract, old and new. Constructing immersive installations, often at historically significant architectural sites, he engages with and reimagines canonical imagery through contemporary technology. His varied practice, all deriving from custom computer software, includes audiovisual performance, video, sculpture, and works on paper. Quayola holds a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media from the University of Arts, London and is based in London, UK. In 2013, Quayola was awarded the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica. Quayola’s work is included in this exhibition courtesy bitforms gallery, New York.
The exhibition runs May 2 – June 22, 2019, at Upfor Gallery in Portland’s Pearl District. Artist Heidi Schwegler will be present at an exhibition Preview on Wednesday, May 1, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. And, the opening reception is on First Thursday, May 2, 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The exhibition and events are open to the public and free to attend.