Artist Jen Fuller’s art installation “Between” received rave reviews while it was on display in Gold Beach.
The temporal installation stayed in a state of perpetual creation that commenced a couple of weeks ago. Each day, more monolithic driftwood sculptural pieces, enhanced with glass, metal and ceramic adornments were added.
“I had originally pitched doing seven cairns, but it has now evolved during my time here to doing 25, and is expanding rapidly,” Fuller said. “This is a unique installation for me in that I am sourcing materials from the site itself to build it, which is all the driftwood.”
In her artist statement, Fuller explains the work: “An edge environment is the place where two ecosystems collide, in this case where urban and nature meet. ‘Between’ is an immersive, curiosity-driven sculpture installation designed to emphasize things that lay between and provides a temporary experience of placemaking.
“There is a space here between urban and natural. People are stumbling on them accidentally during their normal routines. They experience this forced perspective where they have to engage with the project. That’s why I chose this location, because I wanted to do temporary placemaking where people couldn’t avoid it.”
The work succeeded at being immersive and curiosity driven as locals and travelers came by to see what Fuller was doing and to ask questions about the work during the 10 days of the installation.
“It was a gentle, word-of-mouth process,” she said.
“When I first started, I was out here in the pouring rain and people were driving around me in circles and they were going, ‘What the …?’ It took them two days to really see the project starting to come up out of the ground, encouraging people to slowly start getting out of their cars, inquiring about what I was up to and starting to interact. Once people started seeing the glass was happening, and when the weather shifted, they started talking to each other as more and more people started showing up.”
More than 100 people had interacted with the artist before the last weekend, Oct. 26-27, when Travel Oregon’s Live Culture Coast, which sponsored the installation, focused on the southernmost reaches of the Oregon Coast with events centered in Gold Beach and Brookings.
Locally, social media channels were flooded with photos of the installation. The play of light on the glass objects changed constantly throughout the day, and visitors with cameras sought to capture how the light interacted.
“It was then that I just wanted to make something that was a record of my time here,” Fuller said, “and more importantly my interaction with people during my stay. That’s why I started the community cairn.”
People interacting with the artist were invited to choose a marble or another object of their own to embed in an upright driftwood cairn with an uncanny keyhole at the top that framed the remainder of the exhibit.
“This is so cool,” said Naomi Frisbee, lead specialist at the Gold Beach Visitor Center, when she saw the installation when it was still in the dune grass area just south of the South Jetty in Gold Beach.
“It’s neat,” said Linda Elfman, who also works at the visitor center as an information specialist.
“I love it. How fun!” Frisbee said as they got to choose marbles or trinkets of their own to add to a sculpture that will be installed permanently at the Gold Beach Visitor Center.
The installation artwork was dismantled on Sunday evening. The ‘Community Cairn’ will find its way to the Gold Beach Visitor Center this week for permanent display.
Find out more about artist Jen Fuller at jenfullerstudios.com.