Cerulean Blues

June and July and nearly August…

As I listed these months, counting the time since my last post, a cover of “Fly Like an Eagle” by Tony Crown started playing in the background. It was a slow ghostly version of the old Steve Miller Band song, never heard this version before. Perfect synchronicity. Time keeps on slipping…

But I haven’t been sleeping by the sea. Gabriel Harrison chose a number of works during a studio visit in early spring, most of them recent, for a solo exhibit at Stanford called Cerulean Blues. He put together a beautiful installation, especially for Copepodilia: 64 images varying in size from 10″ x 8″ to 50″ x 40″. It was up for much of July and just closed yesterday.

One work was unresolvable – the photographs of collisions along the coast. I’ll figure it out eventually, but for now, I pared it down to just one image, same title as the show: Cerulean Blues.

cerulean.jpg

Cerulean Blues   pigment print on Arches Aquarelle   40″ x 60″   2017

Cerulean Installation 1

most of Copepodilia 2017, with Pool 2017 in the foreground

sandbox

Sandbox   sorted sand on birch boxes   33″ x 103″   2017

Blues Sand Pool

Cerulean Blues 2017, Sandbox 2017, and Pool 2017 in the foreground

Wind Pool Cope

Homage to the Wind 2012, Pool 2017, and a bit of Copepodilia 2017

 

swimmy Pool video

Thanks to David Stroud for shooting this video of Pool at Hosfelt Gallery. It’s the most beautifully sunny gallery in all of San Francisco, so the video is a little pale. There’s a Nam June Paik piece across the room that’s an aquarium in an old wooden CRT television case, critters built out of vacuum tubes, with watery sounds and whale calls. You can see it in the background of the photos in the previous post. Perfect company!

Pool installation at Hosfelt Gallery from Gail Wight on Vimeo taped by David Stroud.

Pool

Pool is finally up at Hosfelt Gallery. Well… it’s been up for two weeks, but I’m just getting Pool-Hosfelt-2-wparound to posting some photos. So here’s how it works: Pool was shot in the tide pools of Salt Point from late January through April of this year. The video is projected onto the floor, passing through a large dish just below the projector holding about six liters of water.  The central video shows a round pool of waves washing seaweed onto the shore, and you can hear the waves lapping over and over. Six round videos surround this central image, each representing a tide pool. Some of the pools show a wide shot of activity, a few are macro close-ups, one is primarily red creatures. There are two other sounds: seagulls and fog horns. The gulls and the foghorns are triggered by electronics, which in turn trigger motors fitted with paddles, which in turn churn the water, which in turn distorts the video with wave patterns. The gulls and fog horns sound infrequently, and give the sensation of peering through the waves.

Pool is related to other recent works all made in the same area, in which I’m trying to learn to see – to see and to understand. I’ve spent a few decades in the area of Salt Point, but I feel like I’m only just beginning to understand the density and complexity of life there.  Secondarily, the work is about the fragility and resiliency of that life. The Pool-Hosfelt-3wpintertidal zone is a fascinating space between the high and low tides of oceans around the world. It’s a harsh space, subject to constant extremes, and exists in constant oscillation between dry exposure and salty inundation. It seems like a space filled with evolutionary experimentation, but it’s also a highly structured space. Each species fills a specific niche between high and low, wet and dry, exposed and hidden, hot and cold, still and rushing. Each of those narrow zones is susceptible to incessant tidal and seasonal changes. With rising and warming oceans, that’s a recipe for disaster. Many of these species can’t move easily or quickly, some can’t move at all once they become adults (mussels, barnacles, seaweed, etc).

thrashed about

I just ordered this book from a store in Oregon:said-no-book

I ordered it, ostensibly, for the graduate seminar I’ll be teaching this spring on “professional practices” for artists. It’s good to have alternatives. While I wait, I’m indulging in a fantasy about this book: that it will give me great peace of mind, reassurance, and affirmation. It will be humorous, and it will make me believe that capitalism is a weak force in the universe.

hermitL

Also while I wait, I continue to shoot video of tide pools for a new work in progress. I shot this footage above yesterday. In case it’s difficult to see what it is, it’s a hermit crab thrashing another hermit crab against a rock, over and over again. Yes, it’s a gif that I made out of about two seconds of footage, but I watched this happen for a good five minutes – all of it recorded – before the thrasher hauled the thrashee away in a huff. I imagine it was a huff. To any hermit crab experts out there, what was this all about? The thrashee is clearly smaller, much too small to donate it’s tiny shell to its abuser. I get stressed out, watching it… which makes me wonder why I made it.

Copepodilia’s virtual debut

I’ve just heard from Julia Krolik that our conversation about Copepodilia is now online:
Julia is one of the curators of the blog Art the Science, from a fascinating Canadian organization of the same name. Lots of great art to be found there; I’m honored to be included.

I mentioned these prints in an earlier post, but they’ve now grown even bigger, 30″ x 20″ on Arches rag. They still look crazily 3-d, with so much textural detail. I’m surprised they don’t smell like the sea.

zeroes on the loose

I had a great meeting with Iain Boal yesterday, working on a book project with Iain and Ren Weschler. Iain shared this beautiful poem by Wisława Szymborska.

edge of the pacific

Possibilities

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

– Wislawa Szymborska, from Nothing Twice, 1997

The Fix

So the abalone kintsugi project is at the San Jose Museum of Art for the next six months, part of a show called “Your Mind, This Moment” curated by Susan Krane.

The piece is out on a porch, off of the second floor gallery. It will be out in the rain and the sun and the fog. I love the idea of it being back in the elements, such as they are. Rich Karson built the ideal redwood table for it, and carved some redwood supports that curve perfectly along the inside of the shell.

I’m taking a break for now, while I focus on a new work for an upcoming show at Hosfelt Gallery, but eventually I’ll get back to fixing broken abalone. It will be interesting to see how the pieces I make in my studio will meld onto this initial shellopolis once it comes home from the museum. In the meantime, I love this spot as its first adventure out into the world. I realized it’s also the perfect test to see if I can keep it outside, in case it eventually bursts the seams of my studio.

hermit

the news makes me want to curl up in a shell.

hermit-sale

top dollar or bargain basement?

and this little ad seems so wrong. cheaper than a candy bar. cheaper than a cup of coffee. cheaper than a pair of sox, three first class stamps, or a pack of gum.

tidepools

 

anemone01-15

I’m working on a new piece about tide pools, or about whatever it is that tide pools are about. In any case, I need lots of footage of tide pools and of tides, coming and going. Yesterday, the shoot was mainly just dealing with technical issues. I walked along a good stretch of shore at Salt Point, looking for suitable locations and after two hours of being knee deep in the icy Pacific, I was ready to leave. I packed up my gear and stood up to leave… and looked over my shoulder at the next rocky pool behind me. There was an anemone, larger than my head, easily the biggest anemone I’d ever seen. Thinking back to the post about the captive anemone, this must have been an ancient individual. I returned today to spend some time with it. Beautiful.