Colorado Springs-based artist Heather Oelklaus (born 1972) explores her subjects through historic photographic processes. Although Oelklaus employs vintage techniques, many of which date back to the beginnings of photography itself, her compositions frequently speak the language of abstract painting or motion pictures. But it is Oelklaus’s combination of these extremely difficult technical processes with contemporary subjects and objects that is truly One of a Kind.
The title suggests the singular nature of many of Oelklaus’s images. In an era in which most of us understand photography as infinitely reproducible, her photographic works emerge from intensive processes that result in a single original image. Oelklaus’s image Hero, which is part of the FAC’s permanent collection, is an example of a lumen, one of the earliest photographic processes. This is essentially a camera-less photograph in which an organic object in combination with long exposure to UV light reveals the image on photographic paper without traditional developing. Other images in One of a Kindwere made with Oelklaus’s box truck camera obscura, plastic cameras, and various photographic means. All of her work reflects Oelklaus’s one-of-a-kind vision, humor, and social commentary.
This is the final exhibition in the 2013-14 Raiding the Crates series. In this second year of the program, we have curated focused exhibitions around the work of four contemporary artists whose work is either currently represented in the FAC permanent collection, or has been gifted for the collection in honor of the exhibitions. We worked with the artists to build shows that, for some, provide greater insight into the particular body of work from which those in the collection derived, and for others contextualize the singular works within selections from the artist’s entire oeuvre. This exhibition of Heather Oelklaus’s work began with Hero, but takes us through an extraordinary spectrum of the artist’s vision.