Working from a variety of cultural sources, 2015 Alumni Affiliate Artist and University of North Carolina at Charlotte Assistant Professor of Print Media Erik Waterkotte creates layered, mixed-media prints and installations that examine idealized spaces. Throughout history man has identified geographies, constructed monuments and architectural spaces, in order to realize their beliefs and ideals. These spaces act as vessels as well as triggers, representing a particular people during a particular time.
“Sightlines, Incidents, and Echoes” is the culmination of Erik Waterkotte’s 2015 Summer Affiliate Artist residency at McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Researching the history of the McColl Center, from its beginning as the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (built in 1927) to its current manifestation as a center for contemporary art, Waterkotte generated a visual language to describe the decades of metamorphosis of this location. Inspired by the phenomenology of architectural space posited in Gustave Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, “Sightlines, Incidents, and Echoes” manifolds this location’s physicality and history into a layered, graphic installation.
Using the McColl Center’s early records, the WTVI documentary Out of the Ashes, the original architectural plans of J.M. McMichael, Dr. Dan L. Morrill’s 1987 report for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, and archived issues of the Charlotte Observer, Waterkotte constructed a timeline and a visual lexicon of the 721 N. Tryon Street location, splicing it together with his own creative experiences in the space taking photographs, rubbings, casts, and found sounds.
Waterkotte is interested in the church’s visual significance as both a symbol and an index of the community. Compelled by the way spaces retain history and the way we project memories and experiences onto spaces, “Sightlines, Incidents, and Echoes” attempts to capture the complexity and the poetry found in the walls of the McColl Center.
Image: Erik Waterkotte in his McColl Center studio, 2015. Courtesy of McColl Center.