The project consists of a collection of material used to create an expansive Algonquinesque composition comprised of synthetic rocks and trees, a series of orchestrated cuckoo birds, a smoke machine, glass beads, cardboard bails, packing tape, lumber, wildlife decoys, synthetic turf and many other materials – near natural, common, animated, and/or fantastical.
The work explores our capacity to suspend disbelief and our ability to meld our perceptions in order to fit within a predetermined notion of what it is we are seeing. We can choose to engage a mock rock as a rock or a plastic Christmas tree as a pine or spruce, despite our underlying awareness to the contrary. The limits in the ability to do so are tested within the installation amidst the points of full abstraction and the injection of slightly bizarre elements. The at times conflicting collection of these manufactured elements do not set out to past judgment – synthetic good, synthetic bad – rather their collective association questions and examines our relationship to the increasingly manufactured environments around us, and our interest in mimicking things natural – to the extent of embossing wood grain in plastic lumber. The absurdity of this peculiar installation sets a playing field in which our existing relationship to the synthetic can be explored; It’s fiction shedding light on the reality (or recreated reality) of the world we live in.
The Aleph, The Puddle, The Halo: Robert Hengeveld’s Natural Revision. Katie Bethune-Leaman. Mercer Union, March 25 – April 30, 2011. (Download PDF)
“Robert Hengeveld – Looking for Life in Astroturf”, John G Hampton, BlackFlash Magazine, Fall 2011 (Download PDF)
“Robert Hengeveld: Natural Revision, Picked Tense”, by Murray Whyte, The Toronto Star, April 15, 2011 (Download PDF)
“The art of Robert Hengeveld: Sometimes faking it can be liberating”, R.M.Vaughan, Globe and Mail, April 8, 2011 (Download PDF)
“Heady Hengeveld: Bricolage messes with nature”, by David Jagger, Now Magazine, April 14, 2011 (Link)
“Pondered: Deer Art”, by Heather White, Art Sync, April 2013 (Link)