Hothouse, Darger HQ’s next exhibition in June, continues the venue’s duo exploration of artists who complement each other while working aesthetically diametrically opposed. Darger HQ founder/director Launa Bacon also favors such paradoxical collaborations that feature artists with diverse backgrounds.

Elizabeth Kauffman, assistant professor at Maryland’s Salisbury University and Luke Severson, ceramics instructor at UNO, are the featured collaborators in Hothouse, which opens Friday, June 17 with an artist talk at 6pm and contiues on view through Aug. 7. 

While Kauffman works on detailed watercolors on paper, Severson creates sculptures in robust materials such as concrete. Although their process and product are quite different, both examine similar concepts such as psychological development, metamorphosis and transformation due to societal pressures and cultural genetic hierarchy.

What seems to unite the two artists mostly can be inferred in the show’s vey title as “hothouse” or “hothousing” is a controversial form of education for children involving intense study of a topic in order to stimulate the child’s mind. Critics remain divided on the practice, and while child development is a shared motif in the exhibit, the work is often more reflective of one’s search for meaning in light of life’s contradictions at all levels.

As Kauffman puts it,  “….we all seek to validate our experiences with others. It is this interaction between what I know to be true and what you know to be true that I find so interesting, especially when those truths are at odds.”

If anything, Severson is even more conceptual with his unexpectedly familiar sculpture seeking to “manipulate the communicative strength of recognizable objects and forms, creating sculptures in a confluence of material, thought and experience.”


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