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Karl Burkheimer

if only

Karl Burkheimer

if only

Event Overview

  • Show Dates

    October 3 - December 8

  • Artist Reception

    September 9, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

Curator's Statement

In his ongoing commentary on what it means to make, Burkheimer celebrates process as he explores materials and purposefulness as well as meaninglessness. This installation of if only comes to Riverside by way of Portland, OR with support through The Ford Family Foundation. Integral to the work of Burkheimer is his practice of noticing and continual return to making, dismantling and remaking.

The journey from concept to execution of this exhibition has been circuitous and laborious, as most worthwhile endeavors are. That life events and venue changes have helped form what ultimately grew into this understated yet significant installation cannot go unnoticed as integral to the way Burkheimer works. His steady, calm and thoughtful hand perseveres and overcomes time after time.

A publication expressing Burkheimer’s creative practice illuminating a multitude of resource material and significant career moments accompanies this exhibition. Beautifully designed by Burkheimer and Martha Lewis, it is replete with imagery that both informs and documents Burkheimer’s work and philosophy. Fragments of instruction, hand-written notes and even recipes float through the visual landscape and invite the reader to speculate about meaning or lack thereof.

Artist's Statement

My creative endeavor is a manifestation of practice, a repeated return to actions of searching, making, and reflecting. The exhibited works become moments of exchange, temporal incarnations and placeholders, emphasizing a provisional language of materials and processes in flux. Courting failure and seeking conditional outcomes within normative constructs, the makeshift confronts accepted structures and logistics, leveraging instability as a condition for change.

Often large and architectural, utilizing rough or raw materials, my works generally operate as sculptural installations, referencing the ever-changing, ubiquitous built environment. Yet my practice courts an absence that exceeds the constructed artifact. Action, effort, and material are employed to surround an emptiness. The relational object-images I create become markers that exist adjacent to the focus of consideration. Thus, the work—my physical labor and inquiry—is not present; only the residue of making can be seen.

The crux of my work is interaction. Several of my large installations directly involve viewers, creating a system where the work is ever-changing through public engagement. Often the sculptures provoke the mischievous need to touch while no one is looking, while at other times they coyly incite the public to engage in an unorchestrated manner, becoming a scaffolding for artistic performance or play. The haptic experience of the work is essential, providing access beyond the visual conversation to emphasize the act of making and the event of engagement