(Above) Yek Rain 2001 Acrylic on panel LVAM Collection
(Below) Brent Sommerhauser Arch 2010 Graphite on Rives BFK paper Barrick Museum Collection (Below)
A week ago a math professor visited the museum. He dropped by the office to tell us that someone had switched out the wall labels for Rain and Arch. I went over and stood in front of the Yek and the Brent Sommerhauser works with him. We talked about how they were made, and what the artists may have intended by titling them Rain and Arch. The wall labels were not switched, I reassured the professor. The two works were hung next to each other both because of their differences and similarities. Both have arches and both have a connection to the movement of air.
The Barrick often start tours at Sommerhauser's Arch. The piece is a great hook for those who might not be familiar with art in general. The math professor immediately lit up with excitement when I told him about the process used to make the "drawing" Arch, and how the artist never held a pencil to the paper, and that his process wasn't all that random. Our discussion turned to variables, like the number of pencils, the amount of force, and the amount of time. "I consider these drawings sculptural, as they use force & time to create an image," says Sommerhauser.
Rain is another sculptural piece, but here it is in the form of a painting. The panel itself is concave and it glows. When people stand in front of Rain their faces have a blue haze, and even the lenses of their glasses glow blue. They are immersed.
Discussions about refraction and rainbows are common in tours no matter the age. We talk about the process of suspending pigment in liquid and spraying. Young children say that if they would make a painting of rain, they would draw the raindrops from a distance. After all, we live in a desert.