Step into the Triton Museum of Art and hanging above the museum’s rotunda are cable lines dripping with petrified citrus slices. Along the museum’s glass wall that looks out onto the Triton grounds are laser cut Masonite panels. Viewers may find both pieces interesting, but might not look beyond the surface and into the message artist Bill Gould is trying to convey. In a Brown Bag Lunch on March 8, Chief Curator Preston Metcalf explained the significance of Gould’s work.
Gould, an artist and architect who created the installation piece outside of last year’s Anne and Mark’s Art Party and was unable to speak about his own work due to a scheduling conflict, transformed the museum’s rotunda for his solo show, “Unlikely Elements: The Rhythm of Repetition.”
In “Orchards,” Gould’s cable and citrus slice piece, he is eliminating the wall between manmade and nature, a theme seen throughout his work. “When you walk through a city, you see cables overhead – electrical cables, telephone lines, whatever,” said Metcalf. “And they’re all over the place. You see evidence of humanity. You see light. You see everything and nature is kind of a hodgepodge around it. So, he used this symbol of manmade creation in these cables, and suspended from it the fruits of nature – literally, the fruits of nature … This is Santa Clara. This is California.”
Gould’s Masonite panels, “Andrew Hill’s Dream,” are another example of melding manmade and nature. “If you were to walk outside, as if that glass wall was not there and stand right in the middle of those redwoods and look straight up, you would see the panels,” said Metcalf. “That is an upward view of the redwoods … you are literally looking up through the trees. That is one more example of Bill Gould eliminating the wall between manmade and nature – it’s not just portraying it. He wants you to see through it. He wants you to become part of it.”
Metcalf explained, in another example stressing how Gould’s work blends the lines between manmade and nature, that Gould utilizes the Fibonacci Sequence, which, when mapped out, produces a shell-like design – a sequence also used by Leonardo da Vinci who patterned the Mona Lisa using Fibonacci’s formula.
“Great art that moves you,” said Metcalf. “It may move fewer people, but it moves you more deeply because you have to think about it. And that’s what Bill Gould wants. He wants you to come in here and have something stirred in the back of your mind to say, ‘oh this reminds me of California. This reminds me of a shell.’ And if it reminds you of a shell and it’s manmade, then you start to get something out of that. That’s Bill Gould’s art. It’s beautiful. It’s dismissible if you want it to be. It’s also deeply profound and anytime you go to see an installation of abstract art I want you to stop and I want you to stop long enough to say how does it make me feel? Why does it make me feel that way? What does it remind me of? Is there something in history that reminds me of that? And I promise you, whatever you come up with will probably not be very far off the mark.”
“Unlikely Elements: The Rhythm of Repetition” runs through May 7 at the Triton Museum of Art, 1505 Warburton Ave. Visit www.tritonmuseum.org for more information.