Erika Wanenmacher at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

September 26-December 27, 2007
Erika Wanenmacher

The Science Club: The Boy’s Room, Now, Forever, Then, Part 1

The Boy’s Room (detail)
Wanenmacher is widely recognized for her ongoing interest and intrigue in the conflict between nature and culture with a large body of her work derived from New Mexico’s atomic history. As a multi-media artist, Wanenmacher moves seamlessly between her contemporary use of audio and video to woodcarvings, hand-stitched quilts and the re-appropriation of ready-made artifacts. Moved by reports that radioisotopic iodine was given to children to determine sensitivity to radioactive fallout by government doctors (1940-1970), Wanenmacher constructs her exhibit. The intersection between nature, art and science convenes in “The Science Club.” In an eerie all black and white environment, Wanenmacher constructs a 1960’s 10-year-old boy’s bedroom with nostalgic toys, paint by number pictures, ham radio operator ala atomic bomb decor. Juxtaposed to the child’s room, Wanenmacher re-appropriates equipment cases, dials, gages and meters-found objects from the surplus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory-with magical inscriptions. This sense of occult, mystery and experimentation elicits the larger conversation of radioactivity, government promises and secrets kept (or not).

Wanenmacher has been widely exhibited throughout the US. Her two most recent one-person exhibitions were featured in New York at the Claire Oliver Gallery and in New Mexico at Linda Durham Contemporary Art. Another notable exhibition, “Grimoire” was featured at SITE Santa Fe in 2001, curated by Louis Grachos. A 20-year survey of Wanemacher works was shown at the Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe in 1996. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, Museum of Albuquerque and the Fisher Landau Center, New York.

Erika Wanenmacher is represented by Linda Durham Contemporary Art, Santa Fe.

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