Matt Blackwell and John Bjerklie, co-founders of WorldwideTour21
at work on board the Portrait Parlor Carriage at Parker's Box. Photo: Etienne Frossard.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Parker’s Box is delighted to present a one-night only event, to launch John Bjerklie’s Slow Healing Train into the night, on a journey of Creation and Redemption that will ultimately see the train make planned and unplanned stops in numerous towns and cities, before it wends its way slowly back to the gallery at a yet-to-be-decided future date.
Bjerklie’s project promises Creation in the widest sense, not only because it touches on painting, sculpture, video, installation and performance, but also because of the many consciously and unconsciously orchestrated by-products. The Slow Healing Train shunts between delusions of Trans-Siberian grandeur, and Bjerklie’s signature low-tech machinery, featuring surveillance cameras, old TV monitors and VHS recorders, along with yards of cables, a large quantity of wood n’ nails and some bicycle wheels! As a result, the Slow Healing Train is equipped with the world’s first interactive, mutual portrait-producing wagon, providing portraits of John Bjerklie and his various persona by invited or walk-on guests, and vice versa! The stated long-term plan is to produce portraits of everyone in the world by 2099. Video-taped interviews and performances provide a further pool of by-products as well as ongoing documentation.
Redemption will also soon be on offer, since Bjerklie, a descendant of General William Tecumseh Sherman, plans to retrace the route in reverse of Sherman’s devastation of towns and cities in his Total War campaign to subdue the South in the Civil War. The visit of Bjerklie’s Slow Healing Train, complete with its art-therapeutic contraptions, will seek to atone for the desolation wreaked by his ancestor, whether considered justifiable or not…
For many travelers, the best trains are those that are on time, but Bjerklie’s Slow Healing Train is a many-facetted animal, much closer to the artist’s unpredictable and ramshackle “train of thought” than to Amtrak’s aspirations of aerodynamism, and much closer to the chaos of General Sherman’s Supply Train than to the intended perpetual motion of New Jersey Transit…
On Friday, September 9th, 2011, Bjerklie’s Slow Healing Train, will be stoked up to full throttle and playing host to numerous invited passengers all eager to paint new portraits of the elusive Bjerklie, adding to a growing collection of works produced so far. Most of Bjerklie’s multiple personas guarantee that spectators and participants will be transported to a different level “or your money back!” *
John Bjerklie was born in Los Angeles and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He studied at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York; Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine; and Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He began exhibiting his paintings in the 1980’s and has since exhibited paintings, sculpture, installations and performance at numerous galleries and museums in the US and overseas, including notable projects presented at The Sculpture Center, NYC; Bronwyn Keenan Gallery, NYC; Lennon-Weinberg Gallery, NYC; The Phatory, NYC; Socrates Sculpture Park, NYC; The Museum of Contemporary Art, St. Louis, Missouri; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Marseille, France; The Aicha Museum of Art, Japan; The Fukuoka Museum of Art, Japan; The Osaka Museum of Art, Japan; Boston Center for the Arts, MA, as well as numerous University galleries and museums.
*Please note that entrance to all parts of the exhibition is free of charge.