The opening of British artist Ben Rigby's "Levitations" will be held at the A1C Gallery at 8 Baird's Cove in downtown St. John's tonight. All are invited to attend the free event, to take in the collection of large-scale installations with mixed-media sculpture and projection, some of which have been developed during Rigby's time in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Rigby was raised in Cornwall, England and has only been working outside of college for about three years. However, beginning with sculpture at a studio in London, he has made noted strides and earned a place as the first artist-in-residence at A1C Gallery.
While at the gallery, Rigby said his goal was to complete as many projects as he could and "Levitations" now opens those works to the public eye.
"The inspiration for my work is a fascination with scientific uncertainty and a deep curiosity of modern human civilizations, and a chronological analysis of the technological and cultural impacts on the Earth," Rigby wrote in a description for The Telegram.
"The human condition is the main focus of my work, the paradoxes and taboos that surround and stick to us like plasma inside the body are the initial starting points for my inquiries," he wrote.
"I then work through a metamorphosis of overlapping childhood memory and patterns in scientific philosophy and psychology, creating pieces that, due to their innate remembrance of childhood, can be personal to many viewers of the work."
Rigby's work in "Levitations," installed with the assistance of apprentices, will explore subjects from the location of nuclear power stations to the Bell Island Boom Phenomenon (a 1979 explosion on the island), to the 1986 Challenger space crash.
"I was actually there at the Challenger space crash when I was young," he said.
"It's a memory that's quite fractured and fragile."
Add to that childhood memory the imagined additions of time as well as images taken in after-the-fact related to the event and you can begin to see the image that Rigby has to work with.
"It's quite fantastical and, at the same time, slightly false," he said.
The still-emerging talent said he is planning to return to London following the exhibition in St. John's and will be looking to enter post-graduate studies.
For those unable to make the "Levitations" opening, there will also be an artist talk at the gallery on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
In addition, the A1C Gallery will be open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.