Bruce Conkle


September 1 – October 15, 2016

Opening Reception | Friday, September 2, 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.BC_GlitchCard image_edited-web“While making Surface Glitch i have been thinking about the interconnectedness of seemingly disparate events that play out on the surface of earth. The concept for this body of work refers to observed variances from averages in temperature and weather patterns, in seismic and volcanic activities occurring in response to shifts in glacial masses, changes in the landscape brought on by infrastructure tamperings, and the associated plant and animal species dominance and extinctions. These anomalies are the titular glitches. Melting ice in one area shifts the shape of the earth’s crust which causes an earthquake to happen many miles away. The earthquake can then trigger volcanos, and the subsequent ash darkens icy ground which can cause it to melt at a faster rate, thus forming a feedback loop.  In the present day existential threats are never far from the conscious mind and in the studio I am constantly trying to cope with the realities of present day. The future of our home planet and our species is fascinating and fragile, although it has been challenging to represent these ideas visually. It will be interesting to see how many plant and animal species disappear in the coming years, and what becomes of our own kind.

Lead, gold, silver, aluminum and other elemental metals are used in several pieces here. These metals were formed outside of our solar system billions of years ago, and ended up here on earth as the planet materialized from burned out stars and supernova. The incredible amount of time that these materials took to form from origins in the big bang, fusion inside of stars, then violent astronomical explosions and collisions is profound and humbling.

I marvel at how our technological developments pose the potential of existential risk, similar to how the golden touch of King Midas inevitably lead to famishment. It is a tragicomedy unfolding before our eyes, and if the viewer sees humor it is the nervous laughter inherent in the subject matter as my own anxiety gets processed.

We seem enchanted by visions of the end- The book of Revelations and the Apocalypse, Shakespeare, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, etc.  Skulls and skeletons can seem like a portrait of whomever is viewing them- it is within each of us.”          -Bruce Conkle 2016

Bruce Conkle loves seemingly magical natural phenomenon like crystals, tree burls, hurricanes, fire and snow and volcanoes and meteorites. He is interested in creating work which combines art and humor to address contemporary attitudes toward nature and environmental concerns, including deforestation and climate change. Bruce’s work often deals with escapism, artificial worlds and man’s place within nature and frequently examines what he calls the “misfit quotient” at the crossroads. His work has shown around the world, including Reykjavik, Rio De Janeiro, New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle, and Portland, and he is a recipient of the Hallie Ford Fellowship.

This exhibition was funded in part by a project grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council.


Image: Winter is Coming, 2016, Graphite, color pencil, gouache, oil paint, aluminum, gold, and palladium on vellum, 24 x 19” photo credit: Marne Lucas