Friday, December 3, 2010

Stars are bright in Hailey

Center exhibition is a storyland from the skies

Express Staff Writer

Courtesy image Jennifer Wood presents her show, “Astronomical,” at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Hailey.

Jennifer Wood is a Boise artist and a professor of graphic design at Boise State University. She's also a stargazer. Wood loves to connect art to the world at large, which she has done with her new installation at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Hailey. As part of The Center's multidisciplinary project "Cosmic: Artists Consider Astronomy," Wood's show, "Astronomical," explores the relationship between people and the stars.

"The stars became my client," Wood said. "It was amazing because it's endless. I zeroed in on things that really jump out through research, which are stories that are connected to the constellations."

In Australia, Orion's Belt looks like a canoe.

"I found tales about the constellation we call Orion in Hungary, ancient Babylonia, Japan and among the Maya," she said. "Sometimes the same group of stars forms the constellation and sometimes it's only some of those stars. I think my favorite comes from the Yulngu people in Australia. They tell of two brothers who went fishing, and because they ate a forbidden fish, the sun sent a waterspout to carry them away. The constellation that represents this story uses the stars in Orion's Belt plus one star to the north and one to the south to form the brothers' canoe."

In the exhibition, Wood uses wall panels and "astroscopes" to illustrate some of these stories.

"I made pinhole light drawings, which is a repetitive idea because the holes present themselves as holes in the universe," Wood said.

For the exhibition, Wood has created five wall panels that tell these different stories through words and images. She also made astroscopes that visitors to the exhibition can peer through to see pinhole images and stories about eight other constellations.

Wood's show will be open through Jan. 14 at The Center in Hailey, Wednesday through Friday from 2-6 p.m.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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