?Traces? of Natural Wonders in Experimental Artworks

Nairi Chopurian
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Adam Belt’s “Schism” was an art piece made entirely of salt. Angie Bray’s “Time” is made of numerous sticks. Together they are an exploration of spontaneous nature versus human order on exhibit in the GCC Art Gallery

Belt, 26, poured water onto the salt formation and let the water collapse one portion of the artwork. The natural flow of the collapse, contrasted with the rigid formation of the rest of the piece, represented the omnipresent schisms in nature.

“I am interested in things that change over time,” said Belt, indicating the collapsed portion of the art piece.

Belt began as a landscape painter while living in Albuquerque, N.M. and continued this while he attended the University of San Diego. From 1993 to 1997 he painted landscapes, but once he advanced, he grew bored. He experimented with the abstract art until he discovered installation art.

While experimenting with a model in his art studio, a neighboring tenant’s cat walked over the art piece, leaving her footprints in the salt.

“This Time,” by Angie Bray, is an assembly of 20 identical innocuous sticks in synchronicity. Each individual piece has a clock motor base, housed in a tiny wooden box. Each box has a white, eight-foot-long wooden stick protruding from it. The white sticks gradually rotate as they cast their moving shadows on the Art Gallery’s white walls.

Bray, 65, lives in Venice . She found her idea for this art piece while working with a box of clock motors she had bought from a store called Handyman’s Paradise in New York years before. She stumbled upon the idea for the piece while playing with the motors one day. She had no notion of a project when she bought them. “I do not start with a big idea,” she said. “I like to play.”

Unlike most modern artists, Bray never went to art school. The only art lessons she had were in high school, although she came from an artistic family. Her mother was always painting and drawing. But now she has had the training of experience, experimenting and discovering things like her preference to work with linear subjects.

“They remind me of trees,” an onlooker said to Bray. Bray seemed to understand why she would say such a thing. “While I was growing up in East Coast Philadelphia, there were trees everywhere.” It will never be her intention to replicate their effect. She acknowledges the possibility that it could be the result of unconscious processes. When she came here, she lost the past. “I lost it, so it was there in the shadows.shadows were the only real thing.”

The exhibit will remain open until April 4 in the GCC Art Gallery.