Vanishing Point: Michelle Hagewood and Erica Hansen at Creative Alliance Nov. 13

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On view Nov 13–Dec 30. Opens Sat Nov 13, 5–7pm, Artist talk Wed Dec 8, 7pm.

Cast your eyes up in the sky, or deep down into a microscope – what do you see? With the gallery walls painted black, CA Resident Artists Michelle Hagewood and Erica Hansen stretch the limits of our vision, with clouds that might be smoke screens, microscopic material resembling urban detritus, and flying machines caught in the corner of your eye. Combined, they suggest super- and subterranean landscapes, metaphors for our hopes and fears, or the notion that 21st century civilization is just another ecosystem.

In a large wall installation and her recent digital prints, Hagewood dives into worlds of marine microbes, rainforest undergrowth, and urban understructures – micro- and macro-cosmoses that are on the brink of bursting or collapsing. With pseudo-scientific exactitude, she combines drawing and digital manipulation, pushing and pulling, researching and processing the forms and behaviors until they are barely recognizable for what they were, mysterious worlds pointing to the beauty and failure inherent in humanity’s quest for control.

If scientists look for order in underlying structures, Erica Hansen looks to the heavens for meaning, as people have done for millennia. Large drawings suspended from the ceiling depict the world above the horizon line: smoke, clouds, birds and flying machines, and the tops of buildings recognizable from Baltimore and Rome, the prototypical city of the ancients. Similarly, a sound piece audible throughout the gallery captures the airspace of the two cities: snippets of conversation, the distant roar of an airplane. An ongoing print series of manmade flying devices – blimps, helicopters, jets and so on – reflects her longtime fascination with flight as a metaphor for human experience.

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