Artist: Natalie Purschwitz

Proposed UFOs – Natalie Purschwitz
May 31 – June 21, 2014
Gallery hour: Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm
Opening Night: Friday May 30 from 7-9pm
Artist Talk: Saturday May 31 at 4pm


The Oxygen Art Centre is bringing the acclaimed interdisciplinary artist Natalie Purschwitz to Nelson this Spring.  Purschwitz who is based in Vancouver will arrive in Nelson on May 28th to install a show of new work that she is calling Proposed UFOs.  Purschwitz says of the project, Proposed UFOs that the work acts as an entry point to a fictional landscape, both surreal and familiar at the same time.  The outfits and prints in the show will encourage the viewer to envision a proposal for an unlikely event.  Purschwitz says that her inspiration for the title came from conceptual artist Julius Koller (1939 – 2007) who used the UFO acronym in various ways to describe the relationship between man and the cosmos, or the unknown.  Early on in the project, Purschwitz imagined bringing jewelry like outfits into the mountaintops of British Columbia, perhaps questioning the alienness of one to the other or challenging the beauty of nature as it is juxtaposed against culture.  One thing is certain we are in for surprise.


In her career as an artist, Purschwitz has worked with a variety of non-traditional materials such as, cloth, broken car glass, newspapers, pennies, plastic of all sorts and various found objects.  In this way, she has been a bit of a cultural archeologist joining together remnants from the refuse pile to reflect the cultural and consumerist world we inhabit.  Her work inhabits a space between art and design, performance and daily life.  Not surprisingly her curiosities include anthropology, the notion of survival, clothing as a type of cultural production, language and mythology.


One of her most notable works is Makeshift. A project in which Purschwitz committed herself to making her clothing for a year.  Each days outfit was then documented.  I was fortunate enough to see Makeshift in Fashionality at the McMicheal Gallery in Ontario.  The work was clever and engaging, displaying the artist’s talents as a designer and her resourcefulness as a human on a planet of largely manufactured clothing.  For me, Makeshift questioned our personal relationship to the clothing we chose to wear and our dependency on consumerist culture. And demonstrated how one persons dedication to making their own clothing for a year can effect change on a personal and global level.


Purschwitz is a multi-talented artist who exhibits her artwork internationally, designs costumes for a wide range of productions and maintains a small clothing line called Hunt & Gather.  She has studied at the University of Calgary (BA, Archaeology) the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science (NY, NY) and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (BFA, Media Arts).  In 2012 she was a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts International Residency award in Paris, France.  Purschwitz grew up in Radium Hot Springs, a small town in the East Kootenays. (


Proposed UFOs takes place at the Oxygen Art Centre. The exhibition runs from May 31 thru to June 21st. The artist will be present for the opening of the exhibition on Friday, May 30th from 7-9pm and will give a talk and presentation of her work on Saturday May 31 at 4pm.


Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of British Columbia, Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, Columbia Basin Trust and the Hume Hotel.


(Written by Deborah Thompson, Exhibition & Residency Manager for Oxygen Art Centre.)



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