Fairbanks Gallery “Darwin Machine”

Darwin Machine

By: Victoria Sigel

“Darwin Machine,” an exhibit curated by Andrew Nigon featuring artists Damien Gilley and Jeff Sheridan, will be featured in Oregon State University’s Fairbanks Art Gallery from Jan. 25th through March 8th.

The exhibit emphasizes the abundance of creativity that can come from reading in between the lines. Nigon chose the name “Darwin Machine” to highlight the unique artistic processes that Gilley and Sheridan use to create their imagery.

I paired these two artists to highlight their shared interest in randomized mark making,” Nigon said. “The name is derived from a 1987 article by William H. Calvin, titled ‘The Brain as a Darwin Machine’ describing how the human brain arrives at complex conclusions through a natural selection process where many slightly varied possibilities compete against one another to be the most effective.”

Currently living and working in Portland, Ore., Gilley is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator. His work is a unique collision between the physical world and the digital world. Lasers are a big attribute to most of his pieces. To start, he places a number of them on the floor of a dark room. Each beam of light shines straight ahead, reflecting differently off the room’s varying faces and angles. When observed all together, the array of beams create a new perspective of the room and this is what Gilley captures.

“I discovered the laser line in the dark at an art residency, and felt the experience was so phenomenal I made multiple works from it,” Gilley said. “I want people to question their perceptual faculties, to not believe everything you see. Counter to that, it is amazing what information the viewer makes up to try and make sense of an abstracted world in front of them. I want the idea of cryptology to be a language we become comfortable with evaluating.”

Gilley’s work has been shown internationally in Enschede, the Netherlands, Kivik, Sweden, Hong Kong and Berlin. Nationally he has had exhibits in various places such as Portland, Seattle, NY, Texas and Las Vegas.

Sheridan is currently living and working in Portland, Ore. He is a multimedia artist whose work is largely influenced by science and the symmetric patterns that take place in nature. Sheridan’s work advocates progress in a place where everything else seems to be stagnant. It is similar to what observing oneself and one’s interpersonal relationships would look like, drawn out on a two-dimensional surface. He also draws cartoons and adds his own contemporary twist to them.

My work for the show has been part of my ongoing examination of the micro and macro versions of consciousness, the cosmos, and life,” Sheridan said. “Encouraged by meditations and comprised of groups of thoughts, these symmetrical textures are largely spontaneous and inform the work I make as it is being created. The objects I create refer to life, erosion and become abstract structures that grow, spread, and disappear. These principles loop back to the overarching theme of Darwin Machine.” 

Sheridan’s cartoons have been acknowledged by the Society of Professional Journalists and featured in Creative Loafing, The Tampa Bay Times, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Portland Mercury.

Located at 220 SW 26th St., Fairbanks Art Gallery is a program of OSU ART at Oregon State University. Fairbanks Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. On the third Thursday of each month, the gallery is open until 8 p.m. for the Corvallis Arts Walk. The gallery will sometimes be closed during holidays and term breaks. For more information, call 541-737-5009.