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Work in Progress: Bradley Borthwick

The show, curated and organized by Sarah Ciurysek, is a display of works done by faculty. Each faculty member in the show, has a work up from their undergrad as well as a more recent piece. The idea is to show a progression of skill, or theme, or format, of faculty work from their student days.

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By Griffy Vigneron (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: March 13, 2013

Work in Progress, UFV’s current gallery exhibition, ties all artists together with one all-encompassing theme. Whether a student, instructor, hobbyist, or professional, all art is a consistent effort to attain something more. It is all, like the title, a work in progress.

The show, curated and organized by Sarah Ciurysek, is a display of works done by faculty. Each faculty member in the show, has a work up from their undergrad as well as a more recent piece. The idea is to show a progression of skill, or theme, or format, of faculty work from their student days.

Bradley Borthwick, a sculptor and instructor with UFV, is one of the artists with work in the gallery. He related the theme to any discipline or creative endeavour. He described everything we do, including art, as having nothing to do with any kind of terminus “It’s all a work in progress,” he explained. “Like we’re not [ever] done with anything, it’s just a little bit of a pause… within an ongoing line of practice and thought, and research, and dialogue, and experience.”

Borthwick’s two pieces in the show, are Monolith (Perpendicular) from 2011, and Untitled from 1996, as his undergrad work.

Monolith (Perpendicular) is displayed as a series of black and white photographs. They display several views of a perfectly spherical stone sculpture that lies alone in stark simplicity, amid rolling Irish hills. One is left to ponder exactly why this ‘monolith’ has been placed here, and what it’s purpose is.

Borthwick describes being influenced by the works of the German philosopher Karl Jaspers for this piece. Jaspers’ work entailed a detailed look into the dilemma of recorded history. Historical artifacts, like a stone henge for example, can only be explained within the framework of the life and experiences of the historian themself. “It’s really just someone’s interpretation, who happened to have written it down. And of course, there’s all kinds of bias and incorrect telling of the tale,” Borthwick explained.

In describing the feelings of finding an artifact like a stone henge or monolith, Borthwick explains “You can’t really relate to it. I think you can find a sense of awe or a sense of nostalgia. I think you look into your own sense of mortality, because we’re finite, yet this stone endures for so much longer.”

Inspired by such an idea, and as a stone carver, Borthwick desired to create his own “monolith.” Ireland was chosen as the placement of his work in the spirit of the preindustrial civilizations who also left many stone artifacts in the area. Also, Borthwick wanted to tackle the complexity of sculpting a perfect sphere.

The completed piece has no mention of authorship, and sits alone in a valley with no path. If anyone is to find it, it would simply be a matter of happenstance, left as a sort of myth for the viewer to ponder.

Borthwick’s other piece, Untitled, is pictured in another black and white photograph. This piece is a large sculpted square, fashioned in a patchwork or woven sort manner.

When asked how he’s improved between pieces, Borthwick describes it as a fairly linear progression. As an undergrad student he was focused more on all the demands of being a student, including deadlines. He says his work then also focused more on the creation of the object itself, and he didn’t think much beyond the task at hand. Now however, Borthwick is able to focus beyond the creation of the object itself. He says now he can, “[move] beyond the veneration of a given medium, with the fact that I can ultimately find placement for the work that far outdoes the formality of the work.”

Work In Progress has been displayed on the Abbotsford campus the gallery in B1306. It will continue to be displayed until March 13, 2013.

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