WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years was installed for the first time at the Nevada Museum of Art Center for Art+Environment in 2016. I was honored to be invited by the Center, which is dedicated to the support of artists working with the landscape, and houses an extensive archive from artists working in Antarctica.
But also, because Reno is home to Kendrick Taylor, a research professor at the Desert Research Institute, and the lead scientist for the WAIS Divide Ice Core Project. Ken's presentation during our "ArtBite" talk was powerful and informative; a sober reminder that global systems are affected by atmospheric conditions. Scientists are just measuring these changes, and trying to inform us of the consequences.
The Casazza Gallery was a beautiful space to hang the piece. The angled walls created layers of shadows, and the 8-channel sound piece by Steve Peters filled the room from multiple directions. I had not seen the work completely installed, and was grateful that it transcended its parts. It has a synergy that does not appear in photographs and video.
This work is comprised of 678 silk panels and 3405 glass ampules of water, hanging in a long row creating a subtly swaying wave form. The entire piece suggests a graph. The shifting hues created by rows of shifting silk indicate untold levels of information.
It is an abstract expression of 68,000 years of temperature history from an ice sheet. Repeating curves in the graph describe patterns and a deeper measure of time that is pulsing and circular. Projected shadows on the wall deform this graph, recalling ice sheets that deform through flow, depth and time.
Layers of tinkling sounds distort into wind, dripping water and grinding rock, recalling the various stages of a glaciers life; accretion, recession and collapse.
Go HERE to read more about how this piece was created, and see a short video of the installation.
All images: Chris Holloman, courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art