Artist Patte Loper explores difficult subjects through a lens of science fiction in new Bellevue Arts Museum exhibition

April 06, 2022
Images: Patte Loper, Laboratory for Other Worlds (detail), Laboratory for Other Worlds (installation view), Plant Communication Devices. Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

April 6, 2022
Contact: Emilie Smith, Director of Marketing & Communications

Patte Loper: Laboratory for Other Worlds is on view at Bellevue Arts Museum May 20–October 23, 2022

Bellevue, WAWhat is the role of human and nonhuman beings during a time of ecological crisis? Interdisciplinary artist Patte Loper seeks to explore possible responses to this question, as well as how we can begin to understand new ways of being, in an upcoming exhibition at Bellevue Arts Museum. Patte Loper: Laboratory for Other Worlds opens at BAM on May 20.

The exhibition will combine paintings, sculptures, and hand-built structures with video and audio elements to create an immersive laboratory environment inspired by a historic cemetery near Loper's studio in Queens, New York. This speculative landscape will be made primarily from found and recycled materials, further emphasizing the work's connections to what Loper calls the "ecological imaginary." Videos embedded throughout the gallery will share a closer look at the locations being observed, some of which include ecological information relayed as messages from the landscape's inhabitants.

While Loper found inspiration for the exhibition in the ideas expressed by the environmental humanities, her use of otherworldly and surrealist imagery in the exhibition is intentional. As she explains, "Science fiction gives you a place to talk about difficult subjects."

Loper's practice began exclusively with conceptually based figurative painting, and the work morphed over time into an experimental practice that utilizes painting, drawing, video, installation, and performance. Deeply rooted in painting’s discourse, her current practice uses painterly logic to create three dimensional structures that evoke landscape and still life and link early and midcentury formalism, architectural theory, and utopian idealism.


About Patte Loper

Patte Loper is a transdisciplinary artist and activist who experiments with sculpture and video to explore a range of subject matter including feminist utopianism, the environmental humanities, and the ecological imaginary. She currently lives and works in New York City and Boston where she is on the faculty of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. She spent her formative years as a young artist in Seattle and considers the Pacific Northwest her artistic home. She has shown her work in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Mattress Factory, Children's Museum of Manhattan, Tacoma Art Museum, and Suyama Space.

Patte Loper: Laboratory for Other Worlds is organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Lane Eagles. Media sponsor: KCTS 9.


About Bellevue Arts Museum

Bellevue Arts Museum provides a public forum for the community to contemplate, appreciate, and discuss visual culture. We work with audiences, artists, makers, and designers to understand our shared experience of the world.