Navajo Nation artist Raven Chacon to visit campus for reception, talk

“Gauge,” a three-channel sound and video installation, was created on Baffin Island by Raven Chacon and his fellow artists Alexa Hatanaka, Patrick Thompson, Danny Osbourne, Sarah McNair-Landry, Eric McNair-Landry and Eric Boomer.

“Resounding Change: Sonic Art and the Environment,” an exhibition that highlights contemporary artists who use sound to engage with environmental issues, will be on display through Friday, Dec. 6, at Western Carolina University’s Fine Art Museum.

One of those featured artists, Raven Chacon of the Navajo Nation, will visit the WCU campus Thursday, Sept. 5, for a artist reception and gallery talk at the museum from 5 to 7 p.m.

Co-curated by Carolyn Grosch, curator of collections and exhibitions at the Fine Art Museum, and Tyler Kinnear, adjunct instructor in WCU’s School of Music, the exhibition showcases sound-based artwork that encourages visitors to listen more closely to the natural world and to think about how sound is being used in a time of environmental crisis.

The works in the exhibition, which range from a large-scale video installation to more intimate encounters with sound, ask the museum visitor to consider humanity’s place in the natural world, aspects of environmental change and the current conditions that shape Earth. Featured artists, in addition to Chacon, are Cheryl Leonard, Andrea Polli, Lee Weisert, Matthew Burtner and others.

One notable work in the exhibition is a three-channel video installation titled “Gauge,” which was created by Chacon and six collaborators. “Gauge” is an immersive gallery experience that combines sound and image. The time-lapse video component of the installation captures dramatic imagery of an ice mural, created by the artists on Baffin Island, as it rises and falls with the tide. Paired with Chacon’s field recordings of crunching snow, human tools, wind and wildlife in the Canadian Artic landscape, this multisensory experience prompts reflection on human presence in the landscape, the cycles of nature, issues of climate change and notions of geologic time.

More details about the exhibition and associated events can be found at arts.wcu.edu/sonicart.

WCU’s Fine Art Museum has a long history of collaboration and continues to serve as a site for interdisciplinary exchange. This exhibition is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the museum and the School of Music. The exhibition is part of a series of WCU events and programs that dovetail with the university’s 2019-20 campus theme “Sustainability and Environment.”

Exhibitions, receptions and associated programming at the museum are free and open to the public. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with free parking available on site. To learn more, visit bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.