Out of Site: Fictional Architectural Spaces

Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington
2002-11-09 until 2003-02-02

(from AbsoluteArts.com Nov 11, 2002)

The Henry Art Gallery will present Out of Site a group exhibition organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, featuring fictional architectural spaces and topographies that reflect how digital technology, virtual reality, urban and suburban growth and global expansion have impacted contemporary culture. Out of Site includes a wide array of cutting-edge works by an exciting roster of nationally emerging artists. The exhibition includes works on paper, painting, digital photography, projection, sculpture, and installation by Haluk Akake, Ricci Albenda, Aziz + Cucher, Nina Bovasso, Victoria Haven, Stephen Hendee, Cannon Hudson, Craig Kalpakjian, Patrick Meagher, Julie Mehretu, Matthew Northridge, Sven Pehlsson, Adam Ross, Dannielle Tegeder, Shirley Tse and Kevin Zucker. The Henry's presentation includes a new commission by Seattle artist Victoria Haven.

Advances in technology and communication have begun to blur the distinctions between what is real and virtual, interior and exterior, natural and artificial, local and global. The artists in Out of Site have responded to these developments by re-organizing and re-articulating space using a wide range of media. The "fictional" spaces in the work in Out of Site point to new ways of experiencing and navigating space-both physically, in our homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods as well as on the Internet-and are informed by the history of utopian proposals, science fiction, and major shifts in architectural discourse and building in recent years.

Out of Site is organized by New Museum Associate Curator Anne Ellegood who states: "The spaces presented in Out of Site range from optimistic and transcendent to paranoid and frightening but each artist interprets the vast landscape of possibilities and challenges in which we find ourselves today." Much of the work, while examining futuristic or fantastical "virtual" realities extant only in the mind-scapes of the artists, is deeply rooted in the materials of the everyday world. Many of the artists in Out of Site, while acknowledging the impact of virtual reality, have purposely chosen not to create the ultra-virtual. Instead they select simple, low-tech, commonplace materials, such as dry wall, tape, vellum, Styrofoam, and foam core, on which to transplant, engage, and probe the very notions of virtual reality. As catalogue essayist and organizing curator at the Henry Art Gallery, Rhonda Lane Howard asserts: "The hybrid spaces created by these artists highlight materials that can be easily manipulated and molded to create skewed perspectives and new dimensions of layered spatial information. Uninhibited by the structural requirements imposed on traditional architects, artists are experimenting with the notion of liquid architecture and dreaming up new kinds of virtually real spaces. What was once considered imaginary or virtual is now becoming real. The virtual reality and cyberspace field is young-there are, as of yet, no rules and no concrete language to restrict one's imagination."

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Published by the New Museum of Contemporary Art in collaboration with the University of Washington, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, the Out of Site catalogue includes essays by Anne Ellegood, Associate Curator, New Museum; Rhonda Lane Howard, Associate Curator, Henry Art Gallery; and Mark Wigley, School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, New York.