Saturday, June 27, 2015

Laika's Lullaby (Julia Oldham with Lindsay Keast)

In the animated piece Laika’s Lullaby, I work with musician Lindsay Keast to tell the tragic story of the Soviet space dog Laika, who in 1957 became one of the first animals to be launched into space, her small form orbiting the earth for only a few hours before her death. The video chronicles the events of her one way flight.

This piece was premiered at the Portland Pataphysical Society in Portland, OR, as a part of my solo exhibition Farewell, Brave Voyager. Jeff Jahn of PORT wrote "Julia Oldham's Farewell Brave Voyager at the Portland Pataphysical Society may be the most emotionally demanding exhibition one will see in Portland all year. It is easily the strongest solo show on view at the moment, presenting a tale of science, sacrifice and a compelling combination of whimsy laced with a lethal dose of tragedy." Read the entire review here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Feather Bomb by Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook) at Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Miami. Photos by Monica McGivern.

Feather Bomb by Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook)
Photos by Monica McGivern

Whale Star at Emerson Dorsch in Miami as Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook)

Whale Star by Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook)
Photos by Monica McGivern

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter Wolf and Shadow Wolf at Emerson Dorsch, as Really Large Numbers with Chad Stayrook (photos by Monica McGivern)

Winter Wolf (Canis Lupus Hibernus) and Shadow Wolf (Canis Lupus Umbrus), performance, 2014 

The most notable characteristic of this species pair is their symbiotic relationship: Shadow Wolf is in fact Winter Wolf’s shadow. Although this connection is occasionally tenuous and violent, the Winter Wolf is never without its shadow for more than a few moments at a time. In fact, one cannot survive without the other and Winter Wolf and Shadow Wolf rely on each other for nourishment and companionship.

A performance by Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Some recent drawings.

These drawings, from the Coyote I Say project, were exhibited at Slag Gallery in July 2014 in a two-person show called Surf and Turf.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Whale Star by Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook)

Really Large Numbers performed Whale Star at Artists Alliance, Inc. in New York City, D-Center in Baltimore, MD, and we will be performing it again on November 15 at Emerson-Dorsch Gallery in Miami, Florida.


Whale Star is a dreamy, musical performance by Really Large Numbers which takes place on board a sailing ship fashioned from a laboratory table. In this piece, The Captain (Chad Stayrook) and Figurehead (Julia Oldham) sing a duet about their shared pursuit to capture each others individual perception of a whale seen in both the sea and stars.

The Captain is tracking a whale in the sea, while his ship’s wayward Figurehead has fallen madly in love with the navigational star Mira, a point in the equatorial whale constellation Cetus. By day, the Captain records a ship's log revealing his confusion and conflicting desires as his navigational efforts are mysteriously thwarted. When night falls and the Captain sleeps, the Figurehead undoes all of his sailing progress in pursuit of her beloved whale star in the skies above.

This piece was developed during Really Large Numbers' residency with Artists Alliance Inc in the LES Studio Program during summer of 2014. Special thanks to The Clemente for their support of this performance.

From These Woods by Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook)

Really Large Numbers'  first solo exhibition, From These Woods, was at D-Center in Baltimore, MD this October--it was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA Baltimore). Here is some information and some images from the show if you missed it! Read a review of the exhibition here: The Woods Are Not What They Seem by Ian MacLean Davis.

From These Woods
An Exhibition by Really Large Numbers (Chad Stayrook and Julia Oldham)
Institute of Contemporary Art, Baltimore @ D center Baltimore

From These Woods is an exhibition of projects, objects and ephemera from the Really Large Numbers laboratory, the creative expedition of multidimensional artists Chad Stayrook (Brooklyn, NY) and Julia Oldham (Eugene, OR). Stayrook and Oldham’s partnership began in 2011 when they encountered each other spontaneously as characters in dreams of mythic adventures. This dream thread led them inexorably to a collaborative relationship that combines science, fantasy and dream language to blur the boundaries between the Real and the Unreal.

The titular installation for this show is a series of animated videos chronicling the story of a deer who can travel through dreams. Originally inspired by the true story of a buck swimming from Jersey City to Governor’s Island in 2010, RLN reimagines the buck’s adventure as a celestial journey. The artists cast their own minds as the “islands” he moves between. The videos have a lively fairy tale structure. Each incorporates a mysterious, geometric teleportation device that allows the deer to move between realms and travel deeper and deeper into bizarre brainscapes.

This and other projects showcased at D center in October exemplify a persistent strategy of Really Large Numbers’ practice—fantastical interpretations of the natural world blended with empirical research of human relationships, communication structures, and symbols. From These Woods will be the first installation of Really Large Numbers work in Baltimore. Really Large Numbers created this work while participating in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space residency on Governor’s Island in Upper New York Bay, and Artists Alliance Lower East Side Studio Program in Manhattan. Their work is supported by the Oregon Arts Commission in Portland, OR.

D center Baltimore -
D center Baltimore is a broad cross-section of disciplines and individuals invested in improving and encouraging design—in all its iterations—in the Baltimore region. D center’s members believe design thinking has the capacity to change the world and that banding together in creative collaboration will greatly improve the quality of urban life.

ICA Baltimore -
ICA Baltimore is a collaboration of volunteers working to stage contemporary art exhibitions in available spaces in Baltimore. From These Woods is the thirteenth exhibition by the ICA since 2011.

Here are a few stills from the From These Woods video triptych, which follows the adventures of a deer who can travel through dreams. Our videos are based on the true story of  10-point buck who swam from Jersey city to Governor's Island in 2010. We conceptualized this project while participating in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space residency on Governor's Island in New York, and completed the series while participating in Artists Alliance Inc. Lower East Side Studio Program in Manhattan.

And here are some of the drawings from our Diving Geometry series, which we exhibited in From These Woods as well.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring styles, 2014.

The Fascinator (lichen, moss and twigs)

The Queen Anne (last year's Queen Anne's Lace)

The Invasive (English Ivy and rhinestone headband)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Really Large Numbers (a collaboration with Chad Stayrook)

For the last 6 months I've been in New York working on a collaborative project with installation and performance artist Chad Stayrook--as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space residency on Governors Island. Together Chad and I are Really Large Numbers, and in Fall 2014 we will have a solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Baltimore. But in the meantime, here's a little preview.

Really Large Numbers (RLN) is a laboratory that encompasses the individual and collaborative experiments/expeditions of Chad Stayrook and Julia Oldham. Early in 2011, the two artists spontaneously began to dream about each other as characters in mythical dream adventures. Soon after the development of their Dream Thread, they had a series of discussions that led them inexorably into a collaborative relationship. For the majority of their collaboration, Oldham and Stayrook have lived on opposite coasts. Luckily, a copper wire connects their minds and allows them to communicate instantaneously, making the distance between them shrink to nothing. This need to use the copper wire has given them both a keen interest in communication and connection, and in the psychological space between two individuals. Together they create a mythology and physics of this space. When working in physical proximity, Really Large Numbers always establishes a laboratory as their base of research and making, and they engage in laboratory experiments to understand their surroundings. Using technomagical devices designed by Stayrook, Oldham unlocks secrets from landscapes. Using coyote skulls as a medium, the artists reveal dreamtruths, and they charm insects with bone instruments. As a team, Really Large Numbers combines science, fantasy and dream language to blur the boundaries between the REAL and the unREAL.

The Really Large Numbers Laboratory on Governors Island.

We attempt to learn about flight.

We communicate with dead animals.

Dream creatures move from one brainforest to another.

We charm grubs and make golden offerings for deceased squirrels.

Arctic Wolf and Shadow Wolf come to life.
Copper wires are tuned and mysteries of the universe revealed.

Experiments and expeditions are planned and executed.
The Coyotes observe.