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Heartbeat

By Mia Pinjuh

Catalogue essay for 2011 exhibition Heartbeat

Heartbeat is a more complex exploration of the concepts that have been evident in Borgelt’s previous exhibitions, such as Flux and Permanence and Exotic Particles. The works in this exhibition indicate a more involved exploration of the artist’s interest in time, space and motion. Borgelt’s work charts the instinct for imposing measure and reason as a way of understanding unfathomable, abstract notions about the universe. A primary concern here is the notion of time as a human construct and constraint. The need to gauge life by way of visual patterns that calibrate numeric order manifests itself in the artist’s explorations of rhythms and cyclical change. Tsukimi Worlds, a collection of glass spheres, are a concise embodiment of Heartbeat. Each sphere is a single unit that contains activity and motion and places limits on the chaos that exists within.

Borgelt’s work navigates opposing forces, embodying the cadences and motions of a continual exchange of energy. Cycles of expansion and contraction characterise the large-scale paintings and the series of sculptural pieces. The Lunar Swell series, in particular, represents the measured compression and expansion of forms that exist in the human body. The undulating forms advance and recede in a pattern that evokes a steady beat. In the pair of sculptures titled Lunar Ebb and Flow 1 & 3 the rhythm and flow of their surface echoes both the sea and the human pulse, pointing to the irrevocable link between humans and the environment.

Borgelt’s paintings aim to transcend the flat surface of the canvas, appearing to form three-dimensional shapes. The Persian Strobe series shuns the explicit, favoring a subtle suggestion of exoticism. The overlapping and interlacing shapes imply the hallowed architectural forms of cupolas, spires and minarets. Abstract forms are gradually revealed, pointing to an image that hovers just out of reach for the viewer. As arresting as Borgelt’s work is on first viewing, it also relies on the viewer’s extended engagement and meditation.

An interactive element is frequently employed in Borgelt’s oeuvre. It is keenly felt in the cut canvas works of the Liquid Light series where a new level of complexity is exhibited. Their potency is fully realized only when the viewer considers the work from several angles. Liquid Light’s meticulously folded strips glow vividly, forming shapes that appear to lift out and levitate above the canvas. As one moves along, the vibrant hues shift to create shapes of varying brilliance and intensity.

Overall, there is a new level of technical development and visual complexity to this exhibition. Underpinned by her familiar themes Borgelt takes the works in Heartbeat to new, sophisticated levels of mastery where a synthesis between construction and concept is harmoniously achieved.

Mia Pinjuh, March 2011

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