Pittsburgh Center for the Arts: April 16-June13 by Thea Augustina

Last night opened my solo show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The show features the "It Is Never Tomorrow' photograph series along with two new sculpture pieces, The slings and arrow of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of trouble and Ye mourners who in silent gloom. The show runs until June 13. My artist talk is Sunday, May 16 at 1pm. I would like to thank the Shady Oak Foundation, A Few Bad Apples Foundation, The Lovely Ladies Baking Team, and my Grandpa for making this show possible.

This sculpture piece gets its title from Shakespear's Hamlet and his famous soliloquy in Act 3, scene 1. "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep-'

The speakers are playing two compositions by Estonian composer Arvo Part- Te Deum and Silouans Song- at the same time.

The nautical flag is one used by British Captain McClintock's sledge team on their hunt for clues about the fate of the John Franklin Expedition of 1845. The biscuits are a version of hard tack.

This sculpture's title, Ye mourners who in silent gloom, comes from the phrase found on a package of funeral biscuits from England in the mid 1800's.

It became custom to hand out biscuit style cookies as a 'take home' gift from funerals during this time period. It is the phrase that is spelled out through the black nautical flags on the tree form.

The suitcase + globe form has both a humidity gage and temperature gage on either end of it.

And a few of the 'It Is Never Tomorrow' photographs already found on my website-

The following is my artist statement for this show.

Out of whose womb came the ice?
And the hoary frost of Heaven, who hath gendered it?
The waters are hid as with a stone,
And the face of the deep is frozen.

Book of Job, the Bible

Inisiaqpunga and the waking scours archived documentary, poetic inventions, and phantasms of personal imagination. The installation reflects on a lonesome wandering, high in the Arctic, in search of ghosts and belongings left from the famed Sir John Franklin Expedition of 1845. Sent as the largest and most technically advanced of its time, the British expedition sought to finalize the Northwest Passage to the Pacific as well as to obtain calculations around magnetic north pole. The story pauses on the deathly silence of the entire 133-member crew by 1847, and gathers momentum as search and rescue expeditions spilled into the Arctic seeking clues to their disappearance.

Just as the ice covers, it reveals

Over 150 years, seasonal freezing and thawing hid and uncovered objects and tragic histories surrounding the expedition’s fate. And as a result, the threaded fingers of a map filled up with intricate coastlines, Inuit populations encountered, and inventions and communication methods appropriated or generated. The western shroud over the Arctic was rent from the globe.

Not here, the white north has thy bones

In the Inuktitut language, inisiaqpunga describes the act of following a lone trail left by an occasional traveler. Inisiaqpunga and the waking seeks not to retell but rather to pursue the emotional voice, the soliloquy and lament, for a tragic narrative.

April Solo shows by Thea Augustina

I will be opening two solo shows in April with new sculptures in both.

Inisiaqpunga and the waking
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA
April 16-June 13
Opening Friday, April 16 from 5:30-8pm
Artist Talk May 16 @ 1pm

Rendering the NORTH
1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
April 23-May 29
Opening Friday, April 23 from 5-8pm with artist talk at 6:30

The tyranny of distance by Thea Augustina

Barry Lopez. Writer. And the ability to display the distance containing the intimacy of the middle ground once he has gifted us horizon and the minute.

Where are you from?
What do you do?
Why are you here?

Three questions posed to him during his extensive travels. And the need to place oneself where one originally did not belong. And the ability to recognize that they do not wish to be you as you do not wish to be them.

The crossing of two sand dunes that left a small dune in their passing, the table of a Yu'pik hunter, the energy of two rivers crossing a city in relationship to the cynicism bred in children when adults can't effectively communicate, and opening oneself to the vulnerability of living an intimate life with nature.

The role of the storyteller and creating patterns so that one recognizes them just as blindly as how all its pieces come together enabling it to become pattern.

Physic's entropy and how cultures recognize it, offering their own significant reactions. the navajo. the maori.

Nature offers us many types of chances at acknowledgment and disclosure- 40 foot waves off the coast of Falkland islands headed towards South Georgia.

The Drue Heinz Lecture series at the Carnegie Museum Hall..................

And when I turned and ran from god's sheet of fog and torrent rain unraveling towards me from the top of Mt. Washington on the Huntington Ravine trail.

And when faced with the Gjøa, Amundsen's ship, I wept.

I see a wooden sledge bearing 9 candles whose wicks are the leashes for 9 bells which carry a Greenlandic kirke.

A synonym for intimacy is confidence.

The refreshment of 2010: Solo show and a new studio by Thea Augustina

The 2010 new year has welcomed in many new and exciting announcements in my life. I have been selected to have a solo show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, a contemporary arts gallery in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh. Having grown up going to see their shows, I am thrilled and honored to become a part of its amazing exhibition history. As my dear friend told me when she heard the news, Keith Haring showed there. So yes, I am quite honored.

As a pre-college student at Carnegie Mellon, I remember going to see my sculpture professor Carlos Szembak's solo show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. I promised myself on that Friday night while gazing at his re-imagined wheat fields and stacks of bread that someday I, too, would have my art within the gallery's rooms. I wonder if this is how Shackleton felt as he read the memoirs of Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridjtof Nansen, whose many accomplishments included crossing into the depths of Greenland. Someday... someday, did he think? The thrill of new territory for an artist is not unlike the adventure of finding one's feet in the first fallen snow for the Antarctic explorer.

I have also set up a new studio and am continuing the Angalavaa series along with a few new sculpture pieces: one for my solo show at the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA, and two for the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts show. Having not worked as an artist in Pittsburgh before, I am excited to take in the energy of the city and my neighborhood of Lawrenceville and then huddle away in my studio for some long hours and nights.

Yes, 2010 is a good year.

by Thea Augustina

I am finally finishing up my new website design. Adding titles, sizes, etc, which for some reason has taken me too long to finish!

Recently I became part of the Pittsburgh Artist Registry, an online database where you can find many many southwestern Pennsylvania artist, writers, performers. It is a project through The Office of Public Art in partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and the city of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning. The NEA has a hand in it, too, of course. Artists are listed alphabetically and have images of their work, website links, and short artist statement and bio.


Another resource that I have been a member of for the past year is Sermitsiaq, the Greenlandic english speaking newspaper. By subscribing, you receive a weekly emailed newsletter offering short articles about current issues such as the induction of the new prime minister this past early fall, tourist/ mining expansions, and of course all of the climate changes causing disruptions. Sometimes the translations are a bit off but overall it has been an interesting weekly read. Also, this week talks about the Greenlandic movie, Nuummioq, being shown at this year's Sundance Film Festival! The website also offers news in Danish, which can easily be translated into English. I have attached the translation program I usually use.


Center on Contemporary Art Seattle by Thea Augustina

Two of my photographs from the It Is Never Tomorrow series are out in the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, WA. The show, 2009 Annual, opens tonight 6pm at the Ballard Gallery and runs through January 9, 2010. If you are out in that area, take a look! The show was curated by Jess Van Nostrand, curator at Cornish College of the Arts.


UPDATE by Thea Augustina

So for some reason, my website is best viewed through Firefox right now. Safari is dragging behind. And who knows about Explorer.

by Thea Augustina

My timeline for my new website has dragged on for a few weeks now. Thanks for your patience. Sometimes life throws in little bumps that get in the way of a deadline.

I hope to have the new site up and going by this coming weekend. Please come back and visit!

New website design by Thea Augustina

I have decided to redesign my website. It was in need of a refurbishment, some autumn cleaning. I hope to have it finished by this weekend: Sunday night is my deadline. So please stay tuned and check back!

National Maritime Museum's Caird Fellowships by Thea Augustina

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich London offers Caird Short-term Research Fellowships for 2-3 months each year for scholars to do research within their collections. These collections are not small either. They include more than 2 million items, from manuscripts in their library and archive, to prints & drawings, objects for navigation, ship models, maps and ship blueprints. Though my interests fall within their polar collections, some of the past research projects include their slave and abolition collection and women's employment at sea. Basically anything maritime related and British historical. The deadline is quickly approaching- November 1- and is their annual deadline.

My proposal is based around how communication was handled in the polar regions in the 1800's and at the turn of the century. Shackleton used semaphore in the Antarctic to guide sledge teams back to the ship over the high ridges of ice. I am interested in this and other ways in which technology played a role in cold weather communication. Tin cans with notes listing longitude and latitude buried in cairns along Arctic coastlines was a way in which the British adopted an Inuit way of storing stashes of meat in these stone piles. I would like to investigate how these communication efforts changed and evolved as more British expeditions ventured into the Arctic/Antarctic. How were they influenced by the landscape and Inuit, or completely ignored both? How did items, such as sledges and clothing, evolve as well to aid in travel? This topic is one that I briefly skimmed the surface of when I was doing research at the museum two years ago. It is time to go back and revisit it more indepth. The use of nautical flags in my work stemmed from it.

My aim for this research is to create a new series of sculptures/photographs inspired by what I find. Now whether the National Maritime Museum's selection committee will be hip to my idea as a visual artist and not an academic scholar is another issue. But here's to trying.

Currently the museum is showcasing the famed Northwest Passage in an exhibition which runs through January 2010.