One of the most anticipated events on the Laguna Art Museum calendar returned this month with the ninth edition of the Art and Nature exhibition.
For almost a decade, the museum has been bringing its patrons closer to the interface between art and nature. Projects featured often included outdoor exhibits, but it wasn’t unprecedented that the thematic works were placed indoors.
Friends, family, students and art enthusiasts made their way to the museum on November 4th to see “Any-Instant-Whatever” by multimedia artist Rebeca Méndez, the finished product of a work that began with the recording of a time slot video of the Los Angeles began heaven two years ago in the winter.
Those standing in front of the four dozen video columns in the museum’s dark exhibition room are mesmerized by the color palette displayed on the 15 by 39 foot board. The panels show moving images, which are mainly recognizable by clouds that form in the focus of the cameras and move over the focus point of the cameras.
While each of the 48 columns shows the same 12-hour period in a loop, each is 15 minutes faster than its successor, so the viewer can see the changes in the sky from sunrise to sunset.
Méndez was named director of Design Media Arts at UCLA in 2020, an advancement in her chosen field that would have been predictable given the intense focus she displayed in her youth.
Méndez, now 59, is an accomplished gymnast, and was called up to the Mexican national team, which would have traveled to Moscow for the 1980 Olympic Games. Mexico dismantled its gymnastics team for these Olympics after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
Repetitive processes and rehearsals are at the core of Méndez’s work ethic, which is reflected in the obligation to film full days at a time.
“Some people have told me that I am exaggerating,” said Méndez. “For some people two iterations would be enough, but for me I know that the more I do it, the more I step into a place of refinement.”
The video sessions were created with the support of your university.
“I ended up filming from Broad Art Center, which houses UCLA’s design media art department, and they gave me the key to the roof so I could take photos from the roof,” Méndez said. “So I brought a rug, I brought my sleeping bags, I brought umbrellas because the sun was sometimes brutal. I filmed hours and hours and days and days and days. “
Jason Lee, a UCLA Design Media Arts alumnus and studio assistant to Méndez, was also involved in the cloud hunting activities.
“The exciting thing was getting on the roof of Broad at UCLA every morning,” said Lee. “It was such an awareness of the nature and the nature of the mood of the sky from day to day because we really tried to capture all these different moments and really create like a catalog of the sky.”
Yogan Muller, photography scholar and lecturer in design media arts, also helped with the video recording for the project.
“Anyone-immediately-whatever” is a completely immersive experience. The exhibition invites the viewer not only to perceive the light spectrum and the clouds over a period of 12 hours when looking at the sky, but also has an audible component.
The calming sounds that visitors hear when entering the showroom come from the composer Drew Schnurr, with whom Méndez has worked in the past. He created the sounds with crystal bowls tuned with water.
“One of the foundations of all of this is the science in the game,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of the Laguna Art Museum. “Part of this project could delve deep into physics and talk about how light and color are created and how light and color affect us.
“This piece also has a scientific basis, and Drew in his composition also thinks about how sound waves work and arise in this way. They are scientific artists at heart. “
Méndez said she will speak about the project at the museum on January 15. Schnurr will also perform his composition at the event.
Looking at the sky is something Méndez has been doing since childhood when she thought she might want to become an astronaut.
With her contribution to Art and Nature, Méndez invites people to look at the world and their place in it, as well as the effects of their behavior on other species.
The fact that heaven is accessible to all made it a great balancing and unifying force, and she believes that everyone has a role to play in caring for not just him but the planet as a whole.
“I think we definitely need to understand that this is only temporary,” said Méndez. “The beauty we see, the climate emergency, can be reduced to a single number, and it’s the concentration of carbon in our atmosphere.”
“Anyone-immediately-whatever” will be on view in the museum until April 25, as will the “Sky Space Time Change” exhibition, which presents works of art from the museum’s permanent exhibition.
“I firmly believe and advocate that a museum is its collection, it is its permanent collection,” said Perlin Lee. “We have a responsibility to show our work in different and new ways.
“Rebeca’s work was inspiring because when I thought about her work it is monumental and breathtaking and unique, but we wanted to make sure that, in terms of art and nature, we were reminding the public that California artists have long been champions of the same ideas – of the beauty around us and to capture it. “
“An Imaginative World: Jessie Arms Botke” is another exhibition that is shown during an extended window for the art and nature festival.
A showcase with Botke paintings shows exotic birds and flowers, including a 9 m long mural in its entirety. This exhibition will be on view until January 16th.
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