See You in Hell, From Heaven is the culmination of two years of work by Craig Calderwood that looks at the functions of low craft materials as a tool for survival and expressing desire. The paintings and sculptures that make up the exhibit, which just came down at Luggage Store Gallery explore the materials and techniques that helped Calderwood move through hostile environments as a queer child. These pieces whose materiality flexes between painting, drawing, and textile are constellations that detail particular themes around love, trauma, and gender in a coded lexicon of patterns and textures.
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“The phrase “see you in hell, from heaven” is not being proclaimed by me, or the work necessarily, in fact, it might be being said to us. I’m not trying to create an iteration of heaven, but I am trying to create an augmented representation of reality. These spaces are attempts at creating constellations around a particular idea or subject. Those even in their dense brilliant static are incomplete conversations. I do not believe they hold universal empathy in their overworked ornamentation, But I do believe they help me understand my experiences around different kinds of pain and joy. When you experience something intensely everything around you in that moment is being imprinted on you, the smell of the space, the textures of the objects, the patterns, faces, The taste in your mouth all get wrapped up in the event. This is an important way of understanding how I approach making my work. Everything is chosen for a particular reason, to reference something, to balance something, to complicate something.
When I started conceptualizing this body of work, I wanted to simply approach the work on a material level, to explore Low-craft, to find what its functions are and to better understand what it does for me now vs. when I was a child. Soon after I began this work I realized how difficult it is for me to not weave a story into the pigments, fibers, and pens strokes of my work. I couldn’t just let the work be about the feeling you get when you see it, the sentimentality of the materials. I don’t see this as a failing, but more as a reinforcement of what I find most exciting about art making. That I can communicate the highly personal in a coded way, That I can allow these inside jokes to remain sacred, while still giving the viewer enough to have their own experience with the work. “