Karl Burkheimer

1/23/23 – 3/31/23
Dengerink Gallery, VDEN Building

“The large grey dog seems to be the subject of the photo, yet the warm yellow-brown tones of late fall and a rusty steel bridge creates a confusing background that muddies the visual space and the viewers’ focus. Created during the era of point-and-shoot film cameras and 1 hour film development, the photo is a mere moment in a quickly receding past. Without context, the snapshot is neutral, conveying only what the viewer cares to consider. For the photographer the photo excites recollections of a specific hike with a beloved pet along an abandoned rail line during an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving weekend in Piedmont North Carolina. A few years later, on another Thanksgiving weekend, the dog died, continuing the refrain of impermanence.

“The built environment is the result of an inherently provisional act of cajoling space through the manipulation of matter. Humanity’s inability to achieve perfection and the natural world’s resistance to permanence assures a futility in making, while simultaneously perpetuating a creative instinct to pursue the exceptional or even the mundane or the abject.

“My creative endeavor is a manifestation of practice, a repeated return to the process of searching, making, and reflecting. The exhibited works become moments of exchange, temporal incarnations, and placeholders, emphasizing an ad hoc language of materials and processes in flux. Actions, efforts, and materials are employed to surround an emptiness, as the objects and images on view become markers adjacent to the focus of consideration. Thus, the work is allusive; only the residue of making is present.”

-Karl Burkheimer

Over the course of the exhibition, (re)site, will evolve, shifting in form and meaning with input and interaction by WSUV art students and faculty.

Burkheimer creates utilitarian and artistic objects that address labor, skill, precedent and intent through a language of utility. His works have been exhibited in the United States and internationally. He holds an MFA in woodworking from the department of crafts at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond; and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design in architecture from North Carolina State University, Raleigh.