Art connected by time

Dozens showed up Thursday to the opening reception of “In the Valley of the Sun” art show, a multi-media installation currently up in the University Art Gallery, which will be up until Dec. 7. 

The doors might be closed, and the windows will be covered but the gallery is open, as said on the front door. 

The multi-media installations in the current art show consist of three different installations based around the idea of time and how it’s connected to place.  

The collaborating artists Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis were invited by Michael  Schwager, the gallery director and an art history professor, after seeing some of their work from a gallery in Los Angeles. 

“The various pieces in the show sort of represent these different points in time,” said Lewis “as connected to geological locations.” The show consists of three pieces: In the Valley of the Sun, 2014. Quartz Array, 2014 and Tide Over, 2014.

“In the Valley of the Sun,” 2014:

Suspended from the gallery ceiling were 12 flat screen televisions connected by a wooden frame creating a upside down arch. 

The televisions were connected to 12 CCTV cameras on the ceiling in a row, pointing from west to east. Representing the line from the quartz mines in the foothills of the Sierras and Bodega Head, which is said to consist of granite that originated from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

“Quartz Array,” 2014:

This instillation consists of 365 digital alarm clocks piled in a corner of a wall. All of them use quartz to accurately record time, which connects to the area. The clocks varied in times, even thought they were all turned on at the same time. 

“Tide Over,” 2014:

A video was playing against a wall of the tide coming in at Bodega Hill. In the artist lecture the day before the reception, the artists said they left a VHS camera left on the beach at low tide, and kept recording until high tide came in and destroyed the camera. 

They digitally recorded the video, then yanked out the film and measured the rise from low tide and high tide with it; which could be seen being pulled in a loop above. 

“It took me a lot to think about the art,” said Curtis Driscoll, a history student viewing the art show during opening reception night. 

Unlike many art shows, “In The Valley Of The Sun” was built on site, consisting of the artists working non-stop at the gallery, along with the help of Sonoma State art students. 

“I proposed instead of doing the same show, why don’t we do something new,” said Cooley, “part of our practice being the fact that we are in separate cities and separate time zones, makes studio time interesting.”

Cooley and Lewis met while they were both artists-in-residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art.  

“Part of working this way, we sort of put a lot of things at risk in our process,” said Lewis.  “We have these ideas and we work through all the worst case and best case scenarios and we come and immerse ourselves.”