November 19, 2022 - January 21, 2023
November 19, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
For millennia, the night’s sky with its celestial phenomena has evoked notions of time, place, and being for those gazing up at the endless expanse. The stars as fixed points in the sky viewed from specific locations and days offer a point of departure for artist Paul Fägerskiöld in his series Starry Night. At first shadowy and enigmatic, the paintings upon closer viewing are comprised of numerous coats of thick oil paint creating subtly shimmering and textured monochromatic surfaces in a concave shape. Strewn across the heavily applied and wavy impasto are small, circular unpainted points that flicker the underlying brilliant layers of aquamarine, violet, or crimson.
These small points are stars as viewed 78 years in the future, or on January 1, 2100, and from specific geographical locations scattered across the United States and its territories of today, including New York, Galveston, or Mauna Kea in Hawaii. With the help of the astronomical calculations of a computer program entitled Starry Night, the artist invites viewers to immerse themselves in the picture planes depicting expansive skies and envision a future through a visual experience devoid of speculation. Using the year 2100, a future that is less abstract as only decades away, any of the possibilities of human impact on the planet would not be visible in Fägerskiöld’s viewpoint of the night skies. The changes would be imperceptible to the eye from this vantage point.
Through the building of these paintings with their exposed linen borders in concave shapes referencing the horizon, and pencil lines showing the artist’s hand and the very construction of the images, Fägerskiöld creates cerebral and sensorial works. They bridge the gap between a perspective of deep time with its exact scientific calculations and that of the grounded reality of painting and handmade objects. Dissolving any semblance of a relationship between foreground and background, the artist wrestles an endless image into a smaller, contained area of perception. With the materiality of their constructed surfaces reflecting delicate silhouettes of the viewers, the images reinforce our notions of time from a present viewpoint, and engage speculations of a near future through a physical experience.