Future Perfect | Erik Hougen
Emerald Shadows, 2019
Screenprint and Archival Inkjet on paper
Edition of 5
24 x 38 inches
Future Perfect (2), 2020
Inkjet and Silkscreen on Paper
Edition of 3
30 x 21 Inches
On View: January 16 – February 22, 2020
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 16, 2020, 6 – 8 pm
In English grammar, the “future perfect” tense expresses actions or events that will be completed in the future – actions and events that are not yet complete. As a phrase, however, “Future Perfect” can be interpreted in a variety of ways.
Most of us are constantly striving to complete goals, take action, and become the ideal version of ourselves. The perfect outcomes of events we imagine are present in the future. The future will perpetually be “perfect,” because when we arrive there, the events leading up to our arrival will have already happened. The present is “perfect” as well, due to its unchangeable and permanent nature.
Today, our world is overwhelmed with turbulence – be it the state of our environment or our political system. It feels like the decisions we make today will have more of a tangible effect on our future than ever before. Because of the pressing nature of this turbulence, it feels like the future is drawing closer.
A motif often employed in Hougen’s work is present here in the exhibition: Tektites. These black rocks are formed on earth under the extreme pressure and heat a meteorite exerts as it makes an impact. Throughout history, tektites and other black rocks have been perceived as mystical and as possessing some kind of power. Indeed, these rocks serve as a stark reminder of our existences fragile state.
Hougen’s compositions take photographic elements from different sources and are blended in a nearly seamless manner. These unrelated images from the past have been composed to be perfect in the future.
Erik Hougen (b. 1982) was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, and lives and works in New York City and Maplewood, New Jersey. He graduated from Pratt Institute with his MFA in 2008.
Hougen has been a resident with the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program at the Bronx Museum, and a SIP Fellow at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York City. Hougen has had exhibitions with the Bronx Museum, the International Print Center of New York, and Kunsthalle Galapagos in Brooklyn. Hougen was also a finalist in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. in March 2013.
Currently, Hougen is a Master Printer and Artistic Director at Lower East Side Printshop in New York City.