Camouflage: Blaze Orange  

Justin Korver

Exhibition: Jul 11 – Nov 30, 2024


Justin Korver has transformed the Artpace Main Space into a fantasy landscape that evokes a sense of heart-opening ecological connectivity, transcending social binaries. When entering the space, visitors are greeted by a 6’ by 24’ long tapestry, a floor covered in pine needles and the crisp scent of tree oils. On the window, a single line of text reads:  

In one long contour, the landscape wrapped around my eye like a curtain, a blanket, a familiar piece of clothing. My edges dissolved into the place I was; we are closer in the softening light.  

The poem, written by Korver, directs us toward the horizon line, where the visitor is placed into a reflective, ocular game. The window is frosted with a fragmented camo print, which obscures vision with cloud-like forms. Camouflage is a visible thing that is about being invisible.  The exhibit is warmed by sunlight during daylight hours, but as night falls, the gallery transforms and emanates an orange blaze. Orange, as a color in hunting culture, is used to make oneself visible and safe. Here Korver suggests that when you see something, you realize you can also be seen. The sensory unfolding of the world around us is at the root of consciousness. There’s a poetic metacognition present that manifests empathy by suggesting the porous nature of the boundaries we have drawn around ourselves.  

The tapestry depicts a landscape, trees, wildflowers, and grasses. In the American landscape tradition, it is a composite Texas with an amalgamation of plants pulled from various ecosystems. It was woven using a jacquard loom, a computer-controlled device that translates Korver’s own digitally composed drawing into woven patterns. Suddenly, these very complex patterns are made accessible by technology. Korver is drawn to artificiality and the slight blindness required to accept what is unreal. He creates an experience that exists in one’s own mind, subverting the singular point of view of romantic landscape.  

The social partitions humans create within this world are often more fiction than the science of symbiosis. Korver remarks, “The idea of myself as individual is a fantasy. You as a person are an ecosystem. The boundary is all permeable. The idea of the natural and the unnatural is dissolving for me right now and that distinction does not exist.”  

In the new exhibition Camouflage: Blaze Orange, Korver makes a plausible place that is both real and unreal. He continues to mine human contradiction by making something that isn’t sentient have the complexity of something that is. Humans and nature are inextricably coupled. Everything a person does effects everything around them, and there is a lot of responsibility in that. 

-Ada Genitempo, Manager of Residencies and Exhibitions  

Artist

Justin Korver

San Antonio, Texas

Justin Korver is an artist, educator, and community organizer living and working in San Antonio, Texas.  He is originally from a small town in the northwest corner of Iowa where the plains of home taught him about minimalism. Korver moved to Holland, Michigan to complete his undergraduate work at Hope College. While in Michigan, he was influenced by mid-century design and discovered a passion for hardware stores. After Michigan, Korver moved to Texas to pursue his MFA at the University of Texas at San Antonio where his thesis focused on the critique of the social construction of masculinity. He is Senior Lecturer of Art at Texas A&M University-San Antonio where he facilitates various courses in the theory and practice of art. His recent exhibitions include the Contemporary at Blue Star, San Antonio, Texas, and grayDUCK Gallery, San Antonio, Texas. Korver has also participated in artist residencies at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany, Casa LÜ, Mexico City, and Rockland Woods, Seattle, Washington. 

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