June 1, 2008

20080622_Lost Menagerie


Walking into the Form + Content Gallery I lost my sight.
The Gallery was illuminated 3.5 stops less than the bright street I left behind. Slowly my eyes adapted to the darkness and I began to see luminous bell jars nestled into the surface of a long wooden table. The jar in front of me pulsated with a cool blue light; I looked into the jar and slowly distinguished a glowing shell...mesmerized by the iridescent form, I quietly walked around the table to view the specimen from different angles. Approaching the opposite side of the table the shell morphed into the beak of large tropical bird...since this gallery experience, I have been thinking about Darwin's Table...

Art that resonates within me, prompts me to question and ultimately may expand my point of view.
1..Beyond “Origin of the Species� and his scientific inquiries who is Darwin? What compelled his thirst for knowledge?
2. How have the Galapagos Islands changed since Darwin's time? Would Darwin recognize the terrain?
3. How has Darwin influenced humanity? What have we learned?
4. What is my relationship with Nature?
5. How do I teach my young son?

Christine Baeumler’s, Lost Menagerie is well thought out in her concept and execution.
It was passionate and effective to see her ideas expressed in different media. I would imagine she has countless notebooks filled with sketches and notes. The choices she made for this show were persuasive in illustrating her thoughts.

Darwin’s Table is a powerful representation of our relationship with Nature.
The darkened gallery and the illuminated bell jars are a powerful way to direct our attention to Nature and face this relationship.
Physically, Darwin's Table is sculpture. The media within the bell jars promotes the sculptures point of view and stimulates a thought process in the viewer. A dialog is created, questions are asked, answers may come with time...

Reflecting on Darwin's table made me aware that I long for the ocean, it’s powerful expressions, the salty fragrance and vibrant color palette of life along the equator.
Being removed from the direct experience of Nature and observing it within a bell jar inside a darkened room made me sad...It created a desire to take off my shoes and sink my feet into cool mud; to stop and listen to the songbirds surrounding me each day; or quietly pause to watch the queen bee dancing from flower to flower...

The stimulating panel discussion: “Envisioning a Sustainable Environment in a Changing Climate� challenged me to reflect on how I have been educated by artists exploring our interconnection to the environment:
The following four artists express life in and out of balance with Nature.

1. W. Eugene Smith’s photo essay on the mercury contamination of a Japanese fishing village; from a factory upstream.

2. Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance. Collision of our modern world and the environment.
A film by Godfrey Reggio, 1982

3. Powers of Ten
By Ray and Charles Eames.
“ A film dealing with the relative size of things in the universe.
And the effect of adding another zero.�

4. mike + doug starn:
Gravity of Light.
“ The Sun pulls the planets around itself; the back porch light pulls the moth from the darkness. Trees, made from light, grow towards it. The gravity of light is so broad and vast it is not noticed.�