Arts Devo

Time is a flat circle

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Art is a time machine The tagline for Vanished, the new art exhibit at Chico State’s Jacki Headley University Art Gallery (UAG), is “A chronicle of loss and discovery across half a million years.” And it’s impressive how successful the efforts of the six collaborators involved were at meeting the challenge of delivering on the promise to span several thousand millennia. The Vanished project is centered on four lost Northern California icons: the Hooker Oak; Ishi, “the last Yahi”; the Mount Tehama volcano in Lassen Volcanic National Park (part of which is now Mount Brokeoff); and a 12,000-year-old Columbian mammoth tooth found in Bidwell Park in 1999 (and subsequently lost to history again during a cleaning).

The cross-disciplinary endeavor is the work of two visual artists (sculptor Sheri Simons and photographer/project leader Byron Wolfe), a philosopher (Troy Jollimore), a writer (Heather Altfeld), a volcanologist (Rachel Teasdale) and a graphic designer (Oliver Hutton).

The most obvious and striking of the results of their efforts is the life-size portrait of the famous Hooker Oak that covers one wall inside the UAG. Scaled to the dimensions of the original tree (which, upon its death in 1977, was discovered to actually have been two trees that grew together), even just a photo of the one-time behemoth (9 feet in diameter) is a kick to stand next to. (Arts DEVO tip: win Christmas card season with a family photo under the tree.)

But there are many more connections—some whimsical and some sobering—to be made throughout the exhibit which is spread out among four campus locales: the UAG, the outdoor glass cases on the side of the Arts & Humanities Building, the Special Collections department in Meriam Library and the lobby of the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology.

Just as striking as the mighty Hooker Oak, but on a much a smaller scale, are Wolfe’s manipulated photographs on display at the anthropology museum. He’s taken historical images of Ishi and superimposed them into modern-day shots of the same Butte County locales, creating beautiful scenes that turn bittersweet when filtered through the lens of history.

There’s much more to talk about with Vanished, which is on display though Dec. 15, and you can hear the artists themselves share their ideas at a panel discussion tonight (Nov. 9, 5:30 p.m.) in Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall, which will be followed by a reception in the UAG.

Krampus Kountdown On the fourth week before Krampusnacht, the great horned beast of Christmas gave to me: four large flasks, three bottles of schnapps, two links of bratwurst and a chain to shake at all the naughty party people in the streets.