Opening Reception: Friday, May 25 from 7pm to 9pm
Juror Talk: Friday, June 15 at 8 pm
Target Gallery, the contemporary exhibition space for the Torpedo Factory Art Center, explores concepts of utopia and the science-fictional sublime in a new solo site-specific exhibition featuring Baltimore artist Caroline Hatfield.
Caroline Hatfield: Unearthing is on view May 25 through July 15, 2018. In the show, Hatfield creates sculptural landscapes within Target Gallery. Composed of industrial materials like cast aluminum; rocks, coal, and other geological formations; as well as mutable boundaries like sand and salt, the combined objects accumulate into forms and recall a cycle of transformation. Through site-specific installations and photography, her work references the awe-inspiring natural experiences of our world while referencing a shift outward towards a science-fictional sublime.
Environmentalism and land use has a lot of personal significance to Hatfield, who grew up in a Southern Appalachian coal-mining community. They recall the region’s ironic juxtaposition of protected wilderness and mined land as a major influence on their work.
“This exhibition presents the idea of unearthing in a literal, metaphorical, and speculative sense,” Hatfield said. “The process of unearthing asks: What are we uncovering? We dig to find history, time, and energy. As a metaphor, it often refers to finding an elusive, hidden substance or truth. Finally, we could consider ‘un-earthing’ in a speculative sense. Our potential is becoming less tethered to this planet through scientific advancement and ecological destruction.”
Hatfield was selected from more than 150 applicants as part of Target Gallery’s annual Open Call for a Solo Exhibition. Jurors were: Jarvis DuBois, independent curator; Carolina Mayorga, DC-based artist; and Victoria Reis, co-founder and executive director of Transformer.
“Caroline Hatfield’s art speaks to timely environmental concerns of noticeable climate changes, fracking, and deforestation wreaking havoc across the globe,” said DuBois. “Their landscapes—created from untraditional materials such as aluminum powder, tar paper, sand, and coal slag—are otherworldly yet eerily reminiscent of terrains found after a natural disaster or in a science-fiction movie. They should be read as urgent harbingers of what could happen to our Earth if we continually neglect her.”
“Based on their individual experience of growing up in an Appalachian coal mining community, Caroline’s exhibition offers a unique perspective on issues affecting the environment and our relation to land,” said Mayorga. “Their work transforms the gallery space into powerful and aesthetically pleasing landscapes that comment on industrial practices and questions the viewer’s relationship with their immediate surroundings. I find Caroline’s work both personal and sincere, yet universally relevant to our current time.”
“I was immediately drawn to Caroline’s very sophisticated and thoughtful use of materials to convey concepts of utopia and science fiction,” said Reis. “Caroline adeptly conveys an otherworldly experience that completely draws in audiences, taking us on a journey that is both wondrous and confounding. Their innovative re-contextualizing of current environmental circumstances through beautiful yet haunting installations provides an important and engaging viewpoint to our relationships with land uses and our evaporating natural resources.”
About the Artist
Caroline Hatfield is a visual artist based in Baltimore. They recently earned a master’s of fine arts in interdisciplinary studio art at Towson University in Towson, MD, and previously received a bachelor’s of fine arts in sculpture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.
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- Thursdays: 10am – 9pm
- Friday-Sunday: 10am – 6pm
Torpedo Factory is located at 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA.