Cities in the Sky, an exhibition of digital prints by Philadelphia-based artist Matthew Borgen, was presented at the Barbara Crawford Gallery on the campus of the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy from February 16, 2017 to April 14, 2017.

Field Work / Exodus, (2016), inkjet prints on archival matte paper, 30" x 73"


 About the Exhibition


In my recent work I have appropriated imagery from comic books from the ‘30s through the ‘50s to utilize their visual conventions, nostalgic aura, and narrative structures to comment on current cultural conditions.

The suit of digital prints that make up the exhibition “Cities in the Sky” combine this found imagery with additional compositional and thematic elements derived from artworks in the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s permanent collection on display throughout the school. These include a mural depicting three biblical scenes painted by Violet Oakley (1874-1961) which hangs in the library,

Violet Oakley, Untitled Mural, (1907) Henry Library, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

Matthew Borgen, Tree of Life / Lecture / Clockmaker (2017) 29" x 114"


and a drawing by Sol Lewitt (1928-2007) executed on the southwest gallery wall.

                                                           above Sol Lewitt, Untitled (19) foam, acrylic paint
                                                           below Matthew Borgen, Explosion / Expulsion (2017) adehsive vinyl


This project encapsulates current conversations in the popular discourse which pit science against religion, region against region, nation against nation, and history against the future into a visual narrative based on humanity’s ongoing pursuit of an ideal society – and the subsequent problems that inevitably arise.

These conflicts are made manifest in the show utilizing science fiction’s time-honored strategy of making the metaphorical literal. “Cities in the Sky tells the story of two groups.

The Astronomers seek to understand the world through those phenomena that can be observed and measured.

The Believers view their existence through the scrim of their ancient spiritual teachings.

The narrative reveals what happens when they both leave their homes in order to explore a city floating in the clouds, rumored to contain the evidence that will confirm all that they understand concerning existence and reality.