Feel The Space [on KS Friday]

Georgia O’Keeffe might have painted it. The Light Cathedral is iconic and people approached it with veneration. It was as if the Cathedral pulled people into it. They stopped at the entrance to take it all in before stepping inside the light. Once inside, enthusiasm overtook reverence. Smiles erupted. Families posed for portraits made possible with the photo-help of strangers. I was overwhelmed by the crush of the crowd and my built-in-covid-response propelled me to the far side and out. I turned back to locate Kerri, smiling, patient with the slow moving mass, gazing up at the magic of it all.

I confess: I wanted it all to myself. I wanted to walk to the very center and close my eyes and feel it. I wanted to lay on my back and fall into the apex like so many stars. I wanted to slow-walk from portal to portal, free to turn and pause and spin. To linger inside this art space. A place created.

The lights transported me to another life: Barney took me to a fairy ring. A perfect circle scribed by towering redwood trees. He knew I could feel it and suggested I spend some time there. I meditated. I returned early the next morning to the ring and sat in the center of the circle. Time stopped. I felt rejuvenated. I felt ancient. I laughed because it felt good. A natural sacred space.

Art spaces. Power places.

“What are you thinking about?” Kerri asked as she joined me outside the Light Cathedral, bringing me back to this life.

I smiled, “Two of my favorite things.”

[listen to the difference. One composition. Two variations. Art spaces. Power places.]

Kerri’s albums are available on iTunes & streaming on Pandora

read Kerri’s blogpost about the LIGHT CATHEDRAL

always with us/always with us/as it is © 2004 kerri sherwood

Immerse [on Two Artists Tuesday]

The bright green ring in the tree beckoned. A time portal. Climb the tree and slip through the hoop to another time. Another place. What will you find there? It was one of many awe-inspiring moments in the immersive light experience at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

A few weeks ago Rob suggested that I consider producing immersive experiences and my walk through the Gardens started a thought-wander.

Immersive is a new word in town. Well, it’s an old verb sporting a new adjective meaning. It’s a tech term. Surrounding “the user” with a generated 3-D image. Wander around town and you’ll find Immersive Van Gogh or Immersive Monet or Frida Kahlo, also Immersive. Technically, escape rooms are immersive. So is Disney World. A 3-D created experience.

A walk in the woods cannot be considered immersive since no technology is involved.

Immersion, one step beyond immersive, is the “perception of being physically present in a non-physical world.” Virtual reality. Dreams might be considered immersive except, like nature, technology is absent so the experience cannot be considered virtual or immersion.

To immerse means to dunk yourself in liquid or to dive deeply into a passion. When I stand before my easel and brush color onto canvas, I leave the world as I know it. I immerse in my paintings, though viewers of my paintings are incapable of having an immersive experience with my less-than-3-D-paintings. Is paint a technology? When Kerri plays, she enters a transcendent place. She fills the room with energy and light and I am transported. Am I having an immersive experience? I believe so.

Rounding a bend the night we walked through the Garden we came upon a field of illuminated pillars, colors changing and hopping with the beat of the music. I told Kerri that I saw this very display 20 years ago in an art gallery, though the technology 20 years ago was new and not nearly as impressive as what flashed in the field in front of us. The pillar-field was alive and was both mesmerizing and familiar.

The Gardens themselves, sans lights and music, are immersive. Groomed and created, meant to transport us from our everyday lives. We oooh and aaaah every time we visit. An explosion of color in a petal. The shape of a leaf. The quiet of the grove.

I loved the lights, the heightened immersive experience. We’ll make it a tradition. I’m excited to immerse in Van Gogh or thrill my way through Cirque du Soleil. As for producing immersive experiences, I am content to smear color on canvas or fall head-long into a story. Or, best of all, walk our path through the woods. There is no greater transporter of time-and-space than to suddenly find myself eye-to-eye with a fox crossing the trail.

read Kerri’s blogpost about HOOPS