Athens, GA. – The University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art Galleries are pleased to present “Her Flock”, the second installment in the triptych Mechanical and Metaphysical Phenomena, an installation by Dutch-born, Athens-based artist Martijn van Wagtendonk. This exhibition will be on view Aug. 13 – Sept. 3, with an opening reception with the artist on Aug. 21, 5:30 – 7 p.m. in the Main Gallery, located in the Visual Arts Building on Jackson Street. The events are free and open to the public.
This exhibition is the second and last exhibition in the Galleries’ Summer Interlude, a series exploring site, memory and the senses through varied digital media. Interlude, in this series, means an intervening episode or space. In “Her Flock,” a large-scale installation and solo exhibition, van Wagtendonk seamlessly stitches together three sculptural, cinematic and kinetic assemblages with the architectural features of the gallery, including a nearly 30-foot high vault.
With Mechanical and Metaphysical Phenomena, van Wagtendonk introduces audiences to his varied free-standing sculptural pieces, each of which can be seen as one actor performing upon a well-directed stage. Created individually, and belonging to one collection, “No longer the Bachelor’s way,” “Her Flock” and “Descending” each conduct their own narrative, and hint at the meaning of the other pieces. In “No longer the bachelor’s Way”, a sculpture which appears at first glance to be a cabinet situated on a tiled floor opens its two doors as a viewer approaches and the small drawers within begin to open and close of their own volition, light spilling out of them as they tilt slightly open and slam shut again. Every element within van Wagtendonk’s installation is subtly domestic – here a tiled floor, there a curio cabinet, and now a flock of mechanical birds – but slightly off in some kinetic, spatial or visual relationship, rendering “unheimlich,” a term Freud used to mean unhomely, the uncanny and therefore estranged familiar element. Without a doubt, van Wagtendonk’s pieces are both immediately familiar, and immediately strange.
In van Wagtendonk’s work, the most contemporary and ambitious free-standing sculptural installations of Louise Bourgeois are called to mind, particularly “Cell (Glass Spheres and Hands),” involving existing rustic chairs, tables and materials, and more delicate, artist-created pieces.
Van Wagtendonk is assistant professor of art in studio foundations at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, where he has been on faculty since 2004. He started art school in 1991 at the Willem de Kooning Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (Academy of Visual Arts), in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In 1996, he received his BFA in sculpture at the Fontys Academie voor Beeldende Vorming (Academy for Visual Forming), in Tilburg, Netherlands, after which he left his home country to pursue an MFA in sculpture at Ohio State University, which he received in 1998. Several years later, he moved to Los Angeles and went back to school for a second Masters Degree (2002) in experimental animation from The California Institute for the Arts. His most recent exhibitions include the biennale at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C., a solo exhibition at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand-Rapids, Mich., a solo exhibition at the Southeastern Louisiana University Contemporary Art Gallery in Hammond, La. and the Anchorage International Film Festival, Anchorage, Alaska. A Willson Center Research Fellowship for the fall of 2007 and an M.G. Michael Award will help move van Wagtendonk’s work to the next stage.