charlie callahan's, Returning Gold to the Sun,
submerges audience in a site specific, multi-sensory, black-lit, recycled redwood installation, utilizing painting, sculpture, audio and video.
This installation as a whole was meant to be visually confusing and
revealing with the underlying concept that the earth is in continuous flux beyond our control.
The Painted Urchin Mandala is the center component assisting the whole installation. The other
components of video and sculpture viewed from inside peepholes in the walls and out, concludes an allegory of a couple's relationship navigating some overall karma of modern global challenges.
In “Returning Gold to the Sun”, my first solo exhibition at the Bolinas Museum this last
January 2015, I collaborated with underwater field recorder Douglas Quinn. This elaborate
installation is visually simple beginning with the glowing painting: the first thing to be seen in
the dark, 12'x12'x8' black‑lit room which you enter from behind a black curtain. The viewer
is confronted with a 6' diameter abstracted chiaroscuro sea urchin pattern seemingly floating
from the wall. Adjusting to the darkened room, the phosphorescent painted mandala is
revealed to be on a swelled, impregnated wall sculpture. The 3‑dimensional curve of the wall
becomes apparent as you walk around the room. As the viewer absorbs the piece, the
floating painting becomes contoured to a whimsical pattern made of recycled, cut redwood
pieces forming the concave that covers the entire wall. While the glowing circular image
incites viewers to peak inside its center black hole, the sound of chattering teeth (codes of
Ice‑seeking walruses) and frequency of harp seal meets the viewer from the cut‑out abyssal
space of the sculpture's center.
This was one of three pieces that I morphed into the interior of the gallery walls. The two
other pieces sharing the space with the painted sculpture were an allegorical mix of material
and related subject creating a single experience inside the room. Adjacent to the enlarged
urchin was a 43"x32" constructed sea turtle shell covered in an elaborate pattern of pinecone
shingles with an 8" double ended blown glass bottle embedded in it's back. From inside, a
monitor streamed a loop of a mud‑painted couple kissing in meditation posture on the
Bolinas Lagoon. Headphones were attached streaming a continuos loop of frogs from the
Bolinas sewer ponds. The third piece opposite of the turtle shell was an 8' vertical slit cut in
the redwood wall from floor to ceiling. Lit from behind the wall, bottle caps collected from Ocean Beach create a colorful mosaic silhouetted behind glass.