Sunday, August 22, 2010

The UW Art Department is Pagan

Quite a while back in Madison - 2005 actually - we had the winter to last all winters. It wasn't even the good kind of winter with 32 degree days, no wind, sun, and just enough snow for schools to be called off. In fact, it was the antithesis of a good winter: weeks with below zero temps and a biting wind chill, sleet, icy roads, months of overcast skies, gritty car boogers, and a general feeling of "blah". Everyone in town seemed extra cranky due to an increasing feeling of hopelessness that spring would never come again.

And then the local artists came out - the ones that sometimes create for a final project, but sometimes just for the sake of creation. There was a collective sigh of relief and a brightening of spirits the day we all saw the art tree. The giant maple tree in the heart of the UW campus, which had previously been in bare-boned hibernation, was covered with multicolored pieces of square fabric. An art student had set up a ladder and had meticulously tied hundreds to each twig. Looking from a distance, the tree represented the four seasons - going from light green to dark to oranges, reds and yellows, to bare again. That was the first day the sun had come out in weeks. I remember people standing around it like it was some kind of shining beacon of hope in the midst of the cold.

Friday I walked through the downtown theater's art gallery to find that even in the summer, the UW art department never ceases to amaze. Their latest installment is called "The Web of Life", and aims to remind its audience that an oil spill in the gulf doesn't end at the shoreline.
Although, the circle here kind of reminds me of Big Bird's nest. :)

1 comment:

Tempest said...

Too true! I have had these experiences also, though some were of the accidental art kind of thing, where you are walking along and something about the world jumps out and says LOOK! and fills you with wonder. That is what redeems the human race in my mind, the ability to perceive and appreciate wonder. I am Tempest, and that describes my life, my temperament, and my goals.