Westward Light Expansion | Exhibition by Montana Torrey (US)


The exhibition will be open from Tuesday to Sunday, 12.00-18.00 in Aparaaditehas (Kastani 42, Tartu).
The official opening of the exhibition will take place on Monday 20.06.16 at 18.00.


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‘Westward Light Expansion’ presents a collection of sculptural installations by American artist Montana Torrey. Montana has spent 3 months in Tartu as an Artist-in-Residence, immersing herself in the city and culture, researching and creating 3-dimensional paintings, chasing and attempting to capture elements of light. ‘Westward Light Expansion’ will be the culmination of her residency, during which Montana wishes to share what she has been working on with the local community.


During my residency at the Tartu Artist-in-Residence program my work has explored the perceptual experience of light: like a landscape painter taking on clichéd representations of sunrises and sunsets, I have been searching for and chasing light in Estonia, documenting its subtle shifts in color and length. And like a painter, I have attempted to capture or contain elements of this light in a very literal way, by creating 3-dimensional works out of silk organza that mimic and reflect upon my memories and observations of light in this time and place. I have created a series of barriers and sculptural light shafts that try to render the fleeting ephemeral qualities of passing light permanent.

Prior to coming to Tartu, my work has been in dialogue with the qualities of light as expressed in the 19th century paintings of the American Hudson River School: a movement that promoted westward expansion, Manifest Destiny and focused on themes of exploration, settlement, and the sublime. In particular, I focused on the work of painter Frederic Church and the duality between the transient nature of sunsets/dying light and Church’s desire to contain or possess such fleeting phenomena. However, I shifted elements of the iconic horizontal picture plane by creating vertical twilights, sunset barriers, and lingering crepuscular rays; my 3-dimensional paintings became barriers, disrupting the vastness of the landscape, and illusions of endless space.

Continuing this series and adapting it to my time spent in Estonia, my goal in the tradition of the artist-explorer became to make the intangible, tangible; the impermanent, permanent. All the while trying to capture and contain that which cannot be possessed. In this new series of work, I focused on the concept of a light barrier (a nod to Dan Flavin); the barrier attempts to make light into a 3-Dimensional form, a soft sculpture, and the result is a series of barriers and containers that reference natural elements of the unattainable: the changing sky. These sewn structures that attempt to harness or capture the idea of dying light become 3-Dimensional paintings.


Montana Torrey employs the landscape as a metaphorical tool to investigate oppositions between and within public and domestic spheres. Her multi-disciplinary work, which includes temporary outdoor installations, photography, painting and sculpture, explores sites such as: protection, paranoia, absence, longing, freedom and confinement. Torrey has been an Artist-in-Residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Headlands Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Catwalk Institute, and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, among others. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MFA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

More about Montana: http://montanatorrey.com/ and http://residency.tartuensis.com/?p=1870

Tartu Artist in Residence Programme: http://residency.tartuensis.com/

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/488716307985633/

Contact and further information:

Nele Behaeghel
nele@tartuensis.com
+37258570694

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