IN PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE MOMENTS, is Ursula Gullow’s series of self-portraits, culled from her practice of painting a self-portrait every day for over nine years. Many have been manipulated, pinned directly to the wall, sometimes being sewn into three-dimensional forms, giving them new bodies to inhabit. Each portrait utilizes a variety of media, from acrylic, glitter, stitching, and found objects.
The self-portraits selected for Gullow’s exhibition at CAM Raleigh begin with the days leading up to the Covid-19 quarantine and extend through September 2022. Like many, she spent more than a year away from others, mourning losses from afar and communing over computers. During those 21⁄2 years, critical events played out on the national stage: the killing of George Floyd and the eruption of long-awaited social justice movements, a volatile presidential election cycle, the January 6th Insurrection, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, numerous mass shootings, and devastating environmental crises.
Gullow’s intention with her self-portrait series is to revisit the memory of the day that each portrait materialized, and by doing so better understand herself, humanity, or the ways each reflects our brief moment on earth. As a technique, self-portraiture recreates a person, and on an expansive level it recreates the person and social environment in which we all exist, both individually and together. These portraits are both of Gullow herself and a reflection of each of us.
The immense distances to the stars and the galaxies mean that we see everything in space in the past, some as they were before the earth came to be. Telescopes are time machines.
~ Carl Sagan, The Blue Dot
CAM Lower Gallery
Ursula Gullow is a visual artist living in Asheville, NC. She received a BA in Sociology from the State University of New York at New Paltz, NY (1994) and is currently an MFA candidate at East Tennessee State University.
Gullow began exhibiting her paintings in 2001 while living in Seattle, WA. Her work has been included in exhibitions at The Asheville Art Museum (2019) and The Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh (2022).
Her social engagement project, One is a Crowd was produced and installed over a period of two months at Artspace in Raleigh, NC (2017), and she was a resident artist at the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts in the summer of 2021. She has also completed artist residencies with The Gil-Society in Akureyri, Iceland (2005), and Jentel Arts Organization in Banner, WY (2019). She has twice received the North Carolina Regional Artist Project Grant (2009, 2019) and she is a 2020 recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund’s Money for Women Artists Grant.
Oil on canvas