The Nanoverse and Beyond

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Transcend Traverse

Craig van den Bosch
through May 28th at Shift Gallery

By Cynthia Hibbard

Craig van den Bosch’s vibrant, intergalactic-themed show both debuts a new graphic novel and furthers his 10-year exploration of imagined, microscopic worlds at the intersection of technology and biology—in pulsating colors and intriguing imagery.

Inviting critical thinking about the heightened role of technology and the body, Transcend Traverse explores the ideas, ethics and possibilities of a post physical experience that hovers between fact and fiction.

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In collaboration with fellow collage artists Marty Gordon and Tim Manthey, the trio present a four-issue comic collection, THE COLLAGEMONAUTS: Journey to the Center of the Microverse, which flew out the door opening night and can be ordered online at Indy Planet.

The series guides the whacky characters Space Jesus, Neter E. Nuff the Space Doctor and Thorak the Space Ape through narrow escapes and self-discovery while wandering the Microverse. Their uniquely adventuresome travel is depicted in meticulously detailed,”” hand-cut collages that are a homage to science fiction comics, movies and literature.

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Expanse 1 (left), Expanse 2 (right)

Other creative explosions of complex, multi-dimensional and sci-fi-inspired collage art comprise the show on the walls of the gallery.

Building on previous work, van den Bosch has artfully arranged his collages, prints and assemblages to probe various aspects of the post-human experience in his imaged Nanoverse.

He poses the question: “What if the body could be left behind, releasing the mind into a network of channels traveling across the universe faster than light?”

This time his exploration of such evolutionary dynamics was especially personal, prompted by the recent death of his brother.

“Just before he died, he asked me what I thought Heaven was like,” van den Bosch said. “I said it might be just one big, infinite road trip–traveling and exploring limitless space and time.  He liked that thought.  The title for the show came from a distillation of that conversation and experience.”

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Golconda Revisited

That conversation is perhaps most apparent in the work “Golconda Revisited,” a digital collage printed on Diebond (metal) in which a mysterious, receding plane of synthesized digital and analog imagery draws the viewer in to unknown space.  “The piece is definitely inspired by my brother’s possible travels beyond the body’s physical constraints,” van den Bosch says.

In addressing the futuristic human body, van den Bosch shows a hanging group of digitally collaged figures that are androgynous since gender may have no relevance in the Nanoverse (or in our own reality’s future), he suggests.

Two expansive, 2 ½-D, multi-media and highly colorful wall collages that seem a cross between pop and comic book art are “Nano Galaxies”— twisting and turning galaxies within the Nanoverse.

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