Searching for Bosons/Mountain Myth

From Mapping Myth, a collaborative show with Chris Clother, Siskiyou Arts Museum, Dunsmuir, CA, 2019


Searching for Bosons, constructed chair, 2 by 4’s, 1RPM motor, windshield wiper, copper leaf, 4’5” x 5’5” x 4’3” h, Siskiyou Arts Museum, 2019

In this space I am layering three myths, a contemporary science hypothesis, an ancient Native American story, and a fictional animal, bringing them together in present time. The large triangle Searching for Bosons/Mountain Myth began as a piece about the subatomic particle called a boson. In the 1960’s scientists discovered that if they added up the weight of all the various parts of an atom (protons, neutrons, and electrons), it did not equal the weight of the whole atom. They hypothesized the existence of the boson to account for this discrepancy. Until 2012, a 50-year gap of time, the boson was a myth: believed to exist but not proven. Popular press began to refer to it as the “God” particle. In 2012, with the advent of the Hadron accelerator, Swiss scientists were able to smash atoms and find the missing boson, but immediately it disappeared again. From Egyptian to Mayan, mountains connect heaven and earth in most ancient mythologies. The chair with the antennae on top of the “mountain” is searching for Bosons.

Searching for Bosons, detail

Searching for Bosons, 4’5” x 5’5” x 4’3” h, Siskiyou Arts Museum, 2019

Unless Today Was Yesterday

The Native Americans in this area believed that giant grizzly bears that once roamed this region were so ferocious that the Sky God sent them to live at the base of Mount Shasta. The Natives also believed that they were descended from the pairing of the Sky God’s daughter and the great grizzly bear. For that reason, they would never kill a grizzly. When white people came, it was a different story. Soon the grizzlies disappeared from California, and by 1924, the last one was gone. The story of the Sky God and the Grizzly is situated at the bottom of the “mountain” triangle.

Unless Today Was Yesterday, constructed chair, fur, binoculars, cd player with grizzly story read by Sylvia Welke, Siskiyou Arts Museum, 2019


The third myth is my invention. During the Delta fire that threatened Siskiyou County last fall, I was driving back and forth to Shasta College, between flames and through smoke. Each day dead animals lined the freeway. One day, a young bear was stretched across the right side of the freeway in the southbound lane. For this piece, I paired the fur of a bear with a piece of tire, which I found on the same section of freeway, then joined them together with copper. Copper is conductive—it is used as electrical wiring and some people line their roofs with it to conduct spiritual energy into their homes. I used it to envision a healing between nature and culture.

Beast, tire, bear fur, copper leaf, from Mapping Myth, Siskiyou Arts Museum, 2019


Burning Bush and Beast

Shasta College, Redding, CA, 2018

The horrors of the Delta Fire linger. Black silhouettes of forest are everywhere, mountains beyond mountains of black. Many homes were lost to the flames. Some students and instructors at Shasta College are victims, along with many others. But we have survived and are holding classes, teaching, living our lives and showing our work. My pieces, Beast and Burning Bush, were born out of my experiences during this time.

Burning Bush and Beast, cast aluminum, burned manzanita, copper wire, tire, bear fur, copper leaf, Shasta College, 2018

Self-Portrait as a Tree

Shasta College Gallery, Redding, CA, 2018

Self-Portrait as a Tree, concrete, broom, copper wire, manzanita branch, Shasta College Gallery, 2018