The Hole in Your Heart is a Portal to Another Dimension

“When your heart is broken it is the end of the world as you know it, but it is not the end of everything. The destruction of one thing is the origin of another. The hole in your heart is a portal to another dimension.” So begins Erin Dengerink’s wise and witty narrative for her art installation, “The Hole in Your Heart is a Portal to Another Dimension”.

Streetside Artscape:
Erin Dengerink  / The Hole in Your Heart is a Portal to Another Dimension

Tacoma Post Office Building (Main Hall), 1102 A Street
May 15 2014 – August 21 2014


The black velvet-lined display cases in TPOB’s grand lobby provide the ideal stage for this work, an exquisite drama in miniature comprised of stacked assemblages that feature all-white fantasy figures in dreamlike compositions. A man in a three-piece suit sports an octopus head. A businesswoman carrying a briefcase stands on the back of a terrier who in turn balances on a hippopotamus. Random creatures share the stage in a tantalizing puzzle that invites viewers to unlock its meaning. Posed on tin can pedestals, these figures delight the imagination in a kind of Jungian Cirque du Soleil. In this world anything can happen, even the healing of a fractured heart.

Artwork by Erin Dengerink
Artwork by Erin Dengerink

Dengerink began making the combined sculptures last summer. While “making these little creatures that were all transforming” she considered the torso of a woman, which at the time she equated with heartbreak. But rather than seeing it as a negative symbol, she interpreted it as “a portal, a way of going someplace better.” TPOB’s display cases provide a film noir setting where “the rules of perspective and proportion don’t apply,” and the action is “moving toward the unknown, fanciful and fantastic.” The curious figures, made from found objects, stand on dripping paint can pedestals; a metaphor, perhaps, for the subconscious from which they emerged. The cans also suggest a staircase that the people may be ascending or descending, to unknown destinies.

A recent graduate of the MFA program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Dengerink resides in Vancouver, WA, where she makes art and writes stories like the one for “The Hole in Your Heart is a Portal to Another Dimension”: “I am sending a message of hope to the heartbroken. I suggest that you can use your broken heart as a means of transporting yourself to a new world. When you are heartbroken, don’t just shoot for getting back to normal, or to simply be healed. Aim to use your heartbreak, as a catapult to propel yourself forward into a time and place that is better than what you have ever known before. Go deep into the hole in your heart and come out the other side. You will find yourself in a fantastic new land of strange and magical people.” A landscape of inspiration.

Erin Dengerink’s artwork is currently on view at Northbank Gallery in Vancouver, WA. See her work and Jennifer Chushcoff’s at the Tacoma Post Office Building (1102 A Street) through August 21, 2014. Check out the riot of performances, music, art, and open studios at the TPOB Art Walk on Thursday, June 19, 5-9pm – full schedule here! ~Lisa Kinoshita