'Alchemical Studio' 

a bio art installation by Richard Walshe

Opening Reception: March 6th 7-10pm

Exhibition runs: March 6th-18th

Join us on March 6th from 7-10pm, in conjunction with Alloverstreet for the Opening Reception of "Alchemical Studio" a bio art installation by Richard Walshe.

Alchemical Studio is an interdisciplinary artwork that explores botany, technology, perceptions of time, mystical beliefs and transformation through art. The ideas for the work stem from the many clashing belief structures that we are confronted with in our modern era, which is often seen as the end of history because of the great changes happening in natural systems and the information overload experienced from rapidly advancing technology. The concern is that developments of this kind make much of humanity incapable of relating to the natural world in any meaningful way. The project is thus about searching for alternatives to this paradigm. The artist’s creative practice began with drawing from nature and eventually evolved into installation based work. During this time the traditional art making techniques merged with interests in advancing technology and ecology. 

Fascinations with the multiple mystical beliefs surrounding these issues that continue to haunt and clash with the seemingly more advanced present are also central to the work. In the installation ritual, magic and alchemy all interact with the current technological reality. These techniques are used demonstrate various theories of embodiment that are arising because of the confused nature of being in the present that is increasingly dominated by new artificial interfaces. However, the artist has failed to achieve the shamanistic qualities so prevalent in contemporary art and instead more resembles a mad scientist desperately searching to reestablish a lost connection to the natural world and find something to believe in. The art thus partially exists in the process and alchemy is used a metaphor to represent this difficult quest for transformation.

Aesthetically, the installation is an updated and plugged-in imagining of a classical alchemist’s laboratory. The work includes plants grown completely with technologically aided means (such as LED lights and hydroponic systems) scientific apparatuses, projected video, occult imagery and objects as well as drawings, scientific charts, found objects. As with most practices, occasional failure is an inevitable part of this process and searching. Subsequently, unsuccessful experiments are included and other aspects are left open-ended because it is a work in progress that will inevitably grow and change with time. 

Richard J. Walshe is an artist working in Baltimore, MD and New York, NY. His work utilizes many mediums including drawing, video, bio art, installation and performance. He received an MFA in the interdisciplinary Art Practice program at the School of Visual Arts.