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Show #29:

Karl Erickson, We Could Be Transcendent Apes, solarplate print, 7x7", 2016




Dates: January 14th - February 20th, 2016

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 14th, 6-8pm

Closing/Print Release: Saturday, Feb. 20th, 4-6pm

Hours: Thur - Sat, 12-6pm

Read an interview with Karl Erickson by Esther Ruiz

Read an interview with Karl Erickson, Ish Klein and Greg Purcell

>>Download a PDF of the limited edition exhibition zine


"While everyone else is spinning madly out of control, he moves effortlessly across the floor, enveloped by a great stillness."
-Phil Jackson, Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior

We Could Be Transcendent Apes tells a story of personal evolution. It follows the journey of a traveler, a monster sent to earth to destroy the human race. Though he has been programmed for destruction, our hero finds himself pursuing a higher purpose, seeking a soul purified by the movement of the body, a self evolved through communion with the other. In his search for enlightenment, the monster journeys across diverse landscapes and pursues new forms of bodily expression, attempting to purify his soul through dance, movement, and meditation. Seeking the unattainable, he moves forward but never reaches his destination, stuck in a constant state of becoming.

Taking inspiration from sci-fi B-movies and investigating the utopian ideals of rave culture and self-help literature, We Could Be Transcendent Apes explores the human desire for spiritual development and self-improvement with humor and sympathy. The featured videos, short vignettes shown in a loop on two monitors, borrow the formal characteristics of commercials, movie trailers, and title sequences, all formats that build up anticipation rather than satisfying desire. The vignettes follow the activities of the titular transcendent ape as he seeks a higher purpose. Overlapping at random moments, the videos constitute an always shifting, never-ending evolution. Caught up in this loop, the audience accompanies the monster on his journey, experiencing their own becoming in search of a higher truth, a final ending that is always just out of reach. The video works are accompanied by drawings that borrow the aesthetic of rave flyers, a selection of online animated GIFS, and a limited edition zine with illustrations, an interview between Erickson and Esther Ruiz, and writings by Blair Murphy, Ish Klein and Greg Purcell.

The videos feature artist Jody Wood and music by Todd Carter, Chris Colthart, Kelly Marie Martin, and Karl Erickson. This project was produced partly during residencies at The Arctic Circle Expedition, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space, and Signal Culture.

Karl Erickson is the inaugural Resident Artist at Field Projects. During the summer of 2015 he was an artist in residence at Signal Culture. In 2013 he was an artist in residence at The Arctic Circle and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space on Governor’s Island. Recent exhibitions include “Monotonic Surfaces: An Account of the Arctic Regions” at the Center for Strategic Art and Agriculture, “Andrew Falkowski and Karl Erickson: Architecture and Morality” at the Suburban, Oak Park, IL, and “A Study in Midwestern Appropriation” at the Hyde Park Art Center, curated by Michelle Grabner. He received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts and BFA from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. He is also a professor of video and digital media in New York.



The goal of the Field Projects Residency Program is to work with one artist over the course of a year on a cohesive exhibition or series of projects relating to their work.  The Residency Program will focus on one artist or curator per year who has exhibited exemplary work in the field.  The resident will also work directly with the Field Projects team and the gallery as a whole on fresh ideas for the space and in an administrative capacity.