Ulterior Gallery is pleased to present George Bolster’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, opening on Saturday, November 14 with a reception for the artist from 2 to 6 pm. (The number of visitors at the gallery will be limited during the reception)
After several years of research at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, New York-based Irish multimedia artist George Bolster has developed a body of work that suggests a guide for the future evolution of human beings. Through his research into the possible existence of extraterrestrial life forms, Bolster began to envision a future for art and culture beyond borders, perhaps beyond the earth itself. The main pieces in this exhibition are three large textiles in which Bolster merges the visible and invisible onto the same sphere, challenging us to imagine (the first step in working toward) a radically different future.
In one of the panels, Embrace the Human (2020), the text reads, "abandon nationalism, abandon tribalism, abandon terracentrism." In Voyaging: Intergalactic Diplomacy (2020), an embroidered Voyager space probe appears on a double rainbow, a common phenomenon on the planet Kepler 16b. The third panel, Looking Further: the Search for Life on Other Planets (2020), features a dense formation of moons, stars, and planets, reflecting the worlds that have been found and verified by NASA. The visions realized on the three panels represent Bolster’s fascination with the idea of venturing beyond invisible boundaries: manmade boundaries that demarcate our existence without our realizing their presence; boundaries between sci-fi and sci-fact; and boundaries between the ideas of here and elsewhere.
For five days during the exhibition, from December 1 through 5, the entire gallery installation will change to Ulterior and Bolster’s NADA Miami 2020 physical presentation. This short-term presentation was carefully planned to be juxtaposed with and nestle within Bolster’s larger exhibition. For the five days of the fair, Bolster will present a wall-scale panoramic tapestry of Grand Stairs Escalante in Utah—an at-risk National Monument under the current president. Bolster has manipulated the weave of the tapestry using a décortiquée technique, stripping away specific colors and then reusing the excised material to re-embroider celestial bodies to reveal the invisible universe overlapping the visible landscape. This restructuring of the image shifts both the history and the future of the Grand Stairs Escalante into a new reality.
In Bolster’s view, we need to evolve quickly and focus on the species-wide issues threatening our dignity and existence. These include human aggression, directed toward us and toward other species; environmental damage causing dwindling resources and shrinking landmasses; and the global extinction of animals and plants. Exploration is key to SETI as it searches the galaxy for signs of extraterrestrial life. Bolster uses the word "we" in his text works to denote humans collectively, and his repeated images of the Allan Telescope Array in Hat Creek, California highlight the work of SETI as it scans the skies for artificial signals, trying to find a way forward for all of us.
George Bolster is an Irish multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in New York City. He has exhibited at numerous museums and galleries internationally. Through oppositional narratives, his work addresses ideas and belief systems from multiple perspectives, using a combination of science, art history, and science fiction to examine our most pressing societal and species-wide challenges. Bolster is the recipient of many residencies, including: Centre Cultural Irlandais, Paris, France (2019); Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, NY (2017); SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA (2016-17); the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, Captiva, FL (2013); and the Firestation Residency, Dublin, Ireland (2012). Selected exhibitions include: Tearing at the Fabric of Your Reality, Ulterior, NY (solo, 2020); You Are Made of Stardust, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Meath, Ireland (solo, 2020); Tatooine: Sci-Fi Becoming Fact, Sirius Arts Centre, Cork, Ireland (solo, 2019); Traveling to the End, MMCA, Seoul, Korea (2019); Towards A Universal Sublime, Bratislava, Slovakia (solo, 2018); Making Contact: SETI Artists in Residence, New Museum Los Gatos, CA (2016); Amazement Insulates Us All, Memento Vivere, The Lab, Dublin, Ireland (solo, 2015); Un/natural History: Drowning Captiva, Nuit Blanche, Toronto, Canada (solo, 2014); /seconds, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2014); sociodesic: a space for the three great loves, Galway Art Centre, Ireland (solo, 2010); and These Days: Elegies for Modern Times, MASS MoCA, MA (2009).