Pictura Gallery

David Ondrik | Inheritance

January 11, 2021

49 I3527

Emerging from a year of too many deaths, a question collectively rises: How do we process so much loss?” David Ondrik has been prodding this question with his photograms for several years. He states that in death “…the deceased have entered a realm the living cannot understand, but their presence is still felt.” Can an artist capture a state that is defined by the vacancy of a person? Photograms feel like a fitting way to explore this absence, as they are images created by the shadows of physical things.

A photogram is made by placing an object on light sensitive photographic paper. When light is flashed onto its surface, a silhouette is formed. The paper is usually then dipped in a fixative chemical that stops it from continuing to develop further. David Ondrik uses the process in an unusual way, with his late father’s woodworking tools in motion. Rather than a clear outline of a static object, Ondrik’s fluid technique results in abstract forms, drips, curling shapes, and black holes. He assembles the papers into larger works that offer an immersive encounter with the abstract forms. Some of the paper is left unfixed, meaning that over time, the patterns will change color or fade away completely.

Grief — when confronted, can have a similar trajectory over time. It’s a slow process, a gradual thing; its changes are often imperceptible from day to day, and may only be noted over a long span of time. Ondrik’s own experience was that the passing of his father required much time to process, and a special kind of quiet space.

Ondrik’s work aims to make a place where each person can sit with their own pain. Many sorrows appear in the forms on the wall. An insatiable cancer, the loss of someone we love, grief for destruction done to the planet, or to our social fabric. Inheritance invites you to sit for a moment, and bring whatever you might carry.

- Mia + Lisa

View more of David’s work here

49 I3509
Inheritance Big Web
Inheritance Detail 2
49 I3505
Depleted II 1 5k tall
Gravity 5k tall
49 I3520
49 I3522