Visual Arts Program

Friday, November 11, 2011 — Friday, December 23, 2011

Robert Hengeveld

handscape agglomerate

Robert Hengeveld Opening Reception: Friday, November 11, 8—11pm
Artist's Talk at 8:00 p.m.

Robert Hengeveld's new installation for Hallwalls consists of a collection of material used to create an expansive composition comprised of synthetic rocks and trees, a series of orchestrated cuckoo birds, a smoke machine, glass beads, cardboard bails, packing tape, lumber, wildlife decoys, synthetic turf and many other materials—near natural, common, animated, and/or fantastical.

The fabricated landscape rises and falls as it moves around the exhibition space. Parts of the landscape are meticulously rendered to resemble the glacier-scraped face of a granite cliff, while other points within the installation scarcely holds together an illusion of the natural amidst the casual taping of stacked boxes. What is revealed is an intersection between the nearly-authentic and an abstracted reference to the natural.

This tension is further amplified through the various audio components embedded throughout the installation—including waterfalls and a wind sound-wheel, among others, collectively creating an audio environment that also teeters between the natural and the artificial. The installation is also animated through the periodic inflating and deflating of deer decoys, a smoke machine providing mist to the base of the beaded waterfall, trees which periodically topple over only to be raised up again several minutes later.

The work explores our capacity to suspend disbelief and our ability to meld our perceptions in order to fit within a predetermined notion of what it is we are seeing. We can choose to engage a mock rock as a rock or a plastic Christmas tree as a pine or spruce, despite our underlying awareness to the contrary. The limits in the ability to do so are tested within the installation amidst the points of full abstraction and the injection of slightly bizarre elements. The sometimes conflicting collection of these manufactured elements do not set out to pass judgment —synthetic good, synthetic bad—but their collective association questions our relationship to the increasingly manufactured environments around us, and our interest in mimicking things natural.

Robert Hengeveld is an installation and multi-media artist whose work explores the boundaries between reality and fiction, and where we find ourselves within that relationship.

He is currently living and working in Toronto, Canada. He completed his MFA at the University of Victoria in 2005 and studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He began his art practice at Georgian College, where he received a Certificate and Diploma in Fine Arts.

Some upcoming exhibitions include ), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Jè-st', Galerie d'art Louise et Reuben-Cohen (Moncton), Latitdue 53 (Edmonton), and Mulherin Pollard Projects (NYC).