the ü in the i

Michael Velliquette

Exhibition: Mar 18 – May 9, 2004


Michael Velliquette’s project at ArtPace is an explosion of color and material. With the ü in the i he has created an intense physical atmosphere that overflows with repeated visual motifs that enchant the eyes while moving forward his long-standing investigation of Self and the cosmos.

Velliquette has made a space within a space, constructing an enormous cardboard box inside of what would otherwise be a white, three-walled gallery. Like the closet in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a doorway in into the space serves as the threshold beyond which lies another reality.

The viewer discovers the land by walking on a path of plastic tarps covering the floor. The road leads over a small bridge, toward a cave, and to a giant hand-shaped pillow lying on the floor. Passed along the way are neon pink and yellow sine waves, sunny rainbows of colored tape, watery cascades of blue plastic, and anonymous, double-sided profiles cut out of galaxy-printed paper.

Compounding the sense of a person exploring the past, present, future, and the world beyond, is the overwhelming presence of outstretched, searching fingers. From each corner hangs a six-foot cardboard hand punctuated by a planetary mobile. Giant palms reach out of the walls, and an enormous pair of inquiring eyes probe the space for answers.

The multitude of elements in the ü in the i encourages an acute awareness of one’s place in the universe. It is a mysteriously ordered disorder—a potent metaphor for the rhythms of life on this planet, and perhaps what lies beyond.

Artist

Michael Velliquette

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Michael Velliquette has used drawing, sculpture, and video to delve into his psyche and daily life. Over the past decade he has recorded himself and his surroundings, and composed environments that reflect his personal journey. Using readily available materials classically associated with craft—paper, plastic, felt-tip markers, tape—he creates all-encompassing, fictional worlds that explore the relationship between the self and the universe at large.
With each project Velliquette crafts a space-specific piece that encourages thoughts about humans and the world around us. To hasten the contemplation of metaphysics he employs a wealth of visual stimulants reminiscent of 1960s psychedelia and more recent rave culture. In his installation The Depth of the Drop (2003), a darkened room was crisscrossed by paper streamers printed with images of the galaxy. Projected on one wall was a video of a storm, while looped on a monitor was footage of a starry-eyed mummy singing sad soul songs. The work sparked thoughts about the afterlife and where we go from here. Like his other work, the piece used dramatic means to distill attention onto the intersection of science, cosmology, philosophy, and religion.
Michael Velliquette was born in 1971 in Sandusky, OH and has lived in San Antonio, TX since receiving his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2000. Recent solo exhibitions include The Suburban, Chicago, IL (2004) as well as Three Walls (2003), Blue Star Contemporary Art Center (2003) and Cactus Bra Space (2003) in San Antonio, TX. Velliquette’s work has been shown in group exhibitions at Deitch Projects, New York, NY (2003); the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2002); and the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Canada (1999).

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Curator

Lawrence Rinder

New York, New York, USA

Lawrence Rinder is the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and was Chief Curator of the 2002 Whitney Biennial which was not restricted by a single theme, and aimed to expose multiple, sometimes conflicting currents, as well as extraordinary works that fall outside of any conventional aesthetic definition. Another recent exhibition, BitStreams (2001), co-curated with Debra Singer, presented projects that harness digital media to achieve new dimensions of artistic expression through the transformation of images, space, data, and sound.
Prior to joining the Whitney in 2000 Rinder was founding director of the California College of Arts and Crafts Institute; Curator for Twentieth-Century Art at the University Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archive, UC Berkeley, and Curator of the Matrix program, UC Berkeley.
In addition to his many exhibition catalogues, Rinder’s writings have been included in books such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, (University of California Press, 2001), and Beyond Conceptualism: The Sixties Experiment (ICI, New York, 2000).  His art criticism has been published in numerous national and international periodicals including Shift, Flash Art, and Artforum.

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