Pencil This In

What would you do if you had the time? Here's one thing we bet you wouldn't do: walk into the Santa Cruz Mountains, find a 150-pound wood burl, take it back to your studio, and cover every inch of it — every curve, every fold, every indentation, every hole — with the heaviest and darkest pencil (okay, truckload of pencils) you could find. Yet that's just what Chris Sicat did. The result, Into the Burl, looks more like metal or hardened tar than wood — strangely beautiful in its glossy deformity, a sleek industrial face on a twisted organic form. How long did it take? We have no idea. Karl Cronin, a choreographer and dancer, has a time estimate for his project: 50 years. The Somatic Natural History Archive involves cataloging 10,000 plant and animal species, identifying a movement that characterizes each one, then recording every selection on video. He's already put in three years on the project — and he's trying to commit as many of the movements as possible to memory. These far-out concepts illustrate “EcoArchive: Meditations on Time and Nature.” The exhibit challenges us to step outside our fast-paced, interconnected, digital daily experience and consider time as well as the natural forces that underlie everything. Some artists in the show are more overt in their environmental advocacy. In the video Bay Dredge, for example, Cynthia Hooper documents a project that dumped increasingly dark sludge on a beach near Eureka. Her video is only nine minutes long, but it seems a hell of a lot longer.

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The opening reception for “EcoArchive: Meditations on Time and Nature” starts at 7 p.m.
Nov. 3-Jan. 22, 2010

 
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