Jenifer Kent and Vanessa Marsh exhibiting at the Palo Art Center

The Sheltering Sky

October 2018

Palo Alto Art Center

Exhibition dates: January 19—April 7, 2019
Opening Celebration: January 25, 2019, 7-10 p.m.

“A black star appears, a point of darkness in the night sky's clarity. Point of darkness and gateway to repose. Reach out, pierce the fine fabric of the sheltering sky, take repose.” ― Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Taking its title from the iconic novel by Paul Bowles, this exhibition looks to the stars for comfort in the darkest of times. Our connection with, and attention to, the abstract concept we call the “sky” is binding, and contemplating its many facets provide rich subject matter for artists. This exhibition will explore a variety of artistic responses through works in a wide range of media.

The origins of the word “sky” are various and many. In Old Norse it was the word for cloud; in Old High German it comes from the words for shadow and mirror; in Middle English, it can mean heaven. These definitions reflect the mutability of the sky itself; it is the true and original shapeshifter, never static, always evolving, a storyboard onto which we project ourselves and our mythologies, and from which we gather information about our possible futures.

While the human stature may be small in comparison to the vastness of the atmosphere above and around us, we are inexorably linked to it, creating it and being created by it in every moment. We are burning, evaporating, decomposing, and breathing ― the results of which are taken up into the heavens and retuned to us as magnificent sunsets, roiling clouds, and acidic rain. Extreme weather events pound the planet; hurricanes, volcanic ash, flooding and drought all draw our gaze upwards. Yet no matter how surreal, how political, how dangerous it is, we still look to the sky for solace, and there is nothing like it to bring us back to earth.

Participating artists to date:

Matthew Baum

Sarah and Joseph Belknap

Adrian Landon Brooks

Sukey Bryan

Eiko Borcherding

Linda Connor

Ala Ebtekar

Jenifer Kent

Vanessa Marsh

Chris McCaw

Anna Von Mertens

Demetrius Oliver

Dario Robleto

Camille Seaman

Hiroshi Sugimoto