Cabrillo Gallery Spoken/Unspoken Cyphers exhibit
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‘Spoken/Unspoken’ Comes to Cabrillo with ‘Cyphers’ Exhibit

Cabrillo Gallery’s new exhibit resists the superficial way our culture looks at art

The Cabrillo Gallery opens their ‘Spoken/Unspoken’ series exhibit. PHOTO: KEANA PARKER

Museum researchers at the Louvre found that people look at the Mona Lisa for an average of 15 seconds. Considering that it is the most celebrated painting in history, you have to wonder how much face time less famous works of art are granted. Chances are, it’s a matter of a few seconds—perhaps barely more than a quick scan before moving on.

Cabrillo Gallery Program Instructor Beverly Rayner is determined to change that. The Cabrillo Gallery’s newest exhibit “Cyphers” features work with encrypted messages and ambiguous concepts intended to get people to slow down and consider a deeper meaning behind the work. It’s an exhibit full of questions and not many answers, which is inspiring, intellectually stimulating and incredibly frustrating all at the same time. You’ll have to spend more than 15 seconds in front of each piece to really unpack them, and that’s the point.

“It nudges and challenges your mind,” Rayner says. “You look at it and make some associations, but you have to keep going back.”

The exhibit is an artistic playhouse that embraces the logical interplay between arts and analytics. It’s a bridge between left-brained and right-brained thinking that melds them into a unique, enigmatic installation more like a sudoku puzzle than a simple illustration.

One piece plops a confessional right in the middle of Euler’s Formula—a mishmosh of sines and cosines on a chalkboard. The formula is known for its particular aesthetic beauty, though it’s gibberish to the untrained eye. Like the rest of the work, there is no exact meaning behind it. Rather, it’s all about individual interpretation, not necessarily a specific idea that artist Laura Forman intended.

The work only gets more bizarre and fascinating from there. Lucy Gaylord-Lindholm’s work is inspired by fragile but resilient artifacts that have somewhat withstood the test of time—a Russian typewriter, a broken Amati violin, old letters. There are Gina Pearlin’s un-interpreted dreams, and Steve Gompf’s surreal animations playing on antique televisions in the middle of the room. Gompf’s video is a must-see; snag a pair of 3D glasses and maybe a chair for the weirdest visuals you’ve seen in a while.

The exhibit is an artistic playhouse that embraces the logical interplay between arts and analytics. It’s a bridge between left-brained and right-brained thinking that melds them into a unique, enigmatic installation more like a sudoku puzzle than a simple illustration.

While many have been holding their breath for the exhibit’s opening, its completion comes as a relief to Rayner and program coordinator Victoria May, since they are the founders and hosts of the “Spoken/Unspoken” series. Over a year ago, the gallery was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Rydell Visual Arts Fund to bring together an 11-venue exhibit. After much discussion, the galleries decided on the “Spoken/Unspoken” theme because it was open to interpretation and seemed fitting at the time. Keep in mind, this was before the Donald Trump presidential inauguration, and Rayner admits that as the idea aged it became more timely than anyone could have imagined.

“Part of the whole idea is to create a sense of community and grow the sense of awareness of the locations you can experience art at across the county,” Rayner says. “If people go to one show, they know about the other places, too. Then, all of these connections happen.”

For the last few months, their job has been to make brochures, promote, advertise, and support other galleries. But now it’s their turn to be in the spotlight. For Rayner and May, “Cyphers” really is the cherry on top of a long few months of organization and preparation. The final shows at the Pajaro Valley Arts, Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center and Santa Cruz Public Library run through the spring and early summer.

“It shows the strength and vibrance of the art scene in Santa Cruz,” Rayner says.  “And it reminds us that art is important, especially now.”

 

“Cyphers” runs through April 13, and will be closed from March 26-30. For a complete list of past and upcoming shows, visit spokenunspokenart.com.

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