Ectoplasmic Desires

Featured Artists

Jane Calvin, Mary Carlisle, Brian Cavanaugh, Karen Fisher, Judith Hersko, and John Ploof.

  • October 28, 1990 – December 1, 1990
  • The Del Prado

Ectoplasmic Desires, curated by Lynda Barckert, featured six artists who incorporated light as both an aesthetic and conceptual exploration in their art making practices. Through diverse interpretations the artists defined the possibilities of what light could be in their work.

Artist Judith Hersko‘s Witch-Hunt Series was on display in the exhibition. Her projected light images onto cloth were inspired by witch-hunts that took place between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries in both Europe and the United States. By studying the social, political and economic conditions of the time, that situated these “genocides” Hersko, used borrowed and imagined imagery to create her projected light forms that illustrated the torture of mostly female victims burnt alive.

Sculptor Brian Cavanaugh exhibited small sculptural works. The sculptures were of man-made machinery from boats, cars, planes, and three small metal pieces that resembled a hybrid between natural and man made forms. The sculptures had images of the sky, clouds or the ocean projected onto them.

John Ploof, a MFA graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, used the ephemeral qualities of light to probe issues of childhood and memory, adult sexuality and gender in his work. His work was organized around relationships that developed both from the viewer’s participation, and from interaction between the elements themselves. In his installations several discrete elements composed a whole. Bridges between elements were created by a cast shadow or by a viewer moving through the path of a projection. The kinetic movement of the viewer reinforced familiar physical activity. The piece Rouse (1988) used multiple images of the same face, in childhood and adulthood that were projected against fiberglass scrims. The cast shadow allowed the viewer to block images and allowed for others to emerge.

Karen Fisher‘s large installation incorporated three large figures projected from light boxes. The life size black and white images inhabited the space and confronted the viewer in an uncompromising way. Mary Carlisle‘s collaged figurative female form in a rocking chair was projected as well. The projected image featured the female body collaged from different historical time periods.

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