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Mike Calway-Fagen: A Search-Based Practice- Department of Art Visiting Artist Lecture Series

University of Oregon
Department of Art Lecture Series

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Lawrence Hall Room 115
1190 Franklin Boulevard

Mike Calway-Fagen: A Search-Based Practice

Mike Calway-Fagen is a visual artist, writer, and curator based in Bloomington, Indiana where he is Visiting Professor at Indiana University. He received his BFA from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and an MFA from the University of California in San Diego. He has upcoming solo shows at Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis, Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN and has recently participated in group exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, LAXArt in Los Angeles, NurtureArt in Brooklyn, and Goucher College in Baltimore. He has attended residencies including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The Fine Arts Work Center, and Sculpture Space in Utica, NY. His work has been reviewed in publications including Art Papers, World Sculpture, and A5 Magazines. He also writes and curates with recent essays appearing in Temporary Art Review and BurnAway online magazines. His upcoming curatorial project, State Park, opens in California in early 2015. Most recently he was a Jerome Fellow at Franconia Sculpture Park where he built and installed a large-scale public sculpture titled, Dyramid.

During a sketch comedy performance an actor follows a script and is expected to perform in tune, with eventual laughter the outcome. At times, not everything goes to plan. These professionals stumble, they break character, and even laugh at their own botched attempt at mastery. They become unstuck, they are neither performer nor audience and aren’t laughed at or with. They are something entirely different. When we laugh as Gilda Radnor can’t hold it together we experience what collective vulnerability is, how frail the body and mind are, and how redeeming empathic embarrassment is.

The fourth wall splits audience and actor creating codeified spaces and performances. Reality really is a membrane and these two seemingly disparate entities spit back and forth, exchanging information, materials, and impacts.

I re-approach all things with this in mind. How might a sculpture, video, photo, collage, or whatever stumble right along with the viewer, breaths held, eyes open.
– Mike Calway-Fagen, 2014

Image caption: In Full Sight #314, 2014, mixed media collage on Bristol paper