New exhibition by Sky Hopinka opens at Crisp-Ellert Art Museum

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The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum (CEAM) at Flagler College in St. Augustine is displaying an exhibition of work by artist Sky Hopinka entitled “Around the Edge of Encircling Lake,” through Dec. 8. 

The exhibition will include three videos — “Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer” (2018), “Fainting Spells” (2018), and “Jáaji Approximately” (2015). According to the museum, each work is a constellation of stories carefully woven together through image, sound, narration and text. Hopinka’s practice revolves around his personal experience of indigenous homeland and landscape, and, as such, his work mines memory, language and his Ho-Chunk American Indian cultural heritage. The exhibition’s title, “Around the Edge of Encircling Lake," takes its name from the Ho-Chunk way of describing the movement around the boundaries of the earth, or the “encircling lake.”  

According to the museum, Hopinka employs various techniques to achieve conceptual interplay, such as layering and superimposing images, using multiple audio sources and by utilizing both written and spoken texts.

The exhibition will include the premier of the artist’s newest work, “Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer.” This video includes footage shot at sites such as the Castillo de San Marcos and the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library during Hopinka’s artist residency in February and August 2018.

“Jáaji Approximately” brings together audio recordings of his father, a former powwow singer, and footage of the landscape that they both have traveled separately. Utilizing recordings that span 10 years from 2005 to 2015, this piece evokes Hopinka’s search for familial connection through memory and recollection and gives credence to the idea of wandering as a path to knowledge.

In the three-channel video installation “Fainting Spells,” Hopinka imagines a myth for the Xąwįska, the Indian Pipe Plant, which was traditionally used by the Ho-Chunk to revive someone who has fainted. The artist juxtaposes images of different landscapes with scrolling text that performs as a sort of correspondence, or evidence of knowledge passed down. 

Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington, and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, Portland, Oregon, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is currently based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Portland, he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. He received his bachelor’s degree from Portland State University in liberal arts and his master’s in film, video, animation and new genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest and Projections. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial.  He was awarded jury prizes at the Onion City Film Festival, the More with Less Award at the 2016 Images Festival, the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, the New Cinema Award at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and the Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists in the Emerging artist category for 2018.

For further information on CEAM programming, visit www.flagler.edu/crispellert or contact Julie Dickover at (904) 826-8530 or crispellert@flagler.edu. The CEAM’s hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

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