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Julia Oldham: Farewell Brave Voyager

Exhibition Dates: April 2 to May 23, 2015.

The Portland ‘Pataphysical Society (PataPDX) is pleased to announce the upcoming solo exhibition of new works by artist Julia Oldham.

Farewell Brave Voyager is an installation of video, animation, music and drawing that memorialize two doomed space explorers, one fictional and one historical. In the titular video Farewell Brave Voyager, Oldham and her physicist father launch a robot named InfiniG into a distant black hole to research the effect of infinite gravity. InfiniG sends data to Earth as it passes through the event horizon and is ripped apart by tidal forces.

In the animated piece Laika’s Lullaby, Oldham works 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.

Physical drawings of Laika that Oldham created during the animation process are also on view, floating in stark black dioramas as reminders of Laika’s terrible solitude during the last day of her life. Together, the works in the exhibition put forward a bittersweet requiem for these non-human martyrs of the space age.


Julia Oldham finds the potential for romance everywhere. She weaves love stories out of the complexities of physics and math, the mating dances of insects, and chance encounters with wild animals in the forest. Casting herself in the role of lover, wanderer and scientist, she creates a mythology of the heart with her videos, drawings and songs. 

Oldham studied art history at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and then received her MFA from the University of Chicago. Her work has been screened/exhibited at Art in General, MoMA PS1, The Drawing Center, The Bronx Museum of Art, Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem; the Dia Foundation at the Hispanic Society in New York; and Nunnery Gallery in London, UK. She also works in collaboration with New York based artist Chad Stayrook. Together they are known as Really Large Numbers.

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