An Outdoor Art Event
The event serves a number of purposes: to provide a festival of art and ideas for the community; to inspire artists; to find and develop connections between art and science; to raise awareness of environmental issues; and to celebrate Laguna Beach as a center for the appreciation of art and nature.
The theme of Art & Nature speaks particularly to the identity of Laguna Beach, which for over a hundred years has fostered art, the love of nature, and environmental awareness. In 1929, when the Laguna Beach Art Association built a gallery to show and sell their work, they chose a commanding location on the coastline, close to the natural wonders they loved to paint. The present museum occupies the same site. There could be no more appropriate venue in which to explore the art-nature connection.
Patrick Shearn is an LA-based artist specializing in larger-than-life, immersive public art installations. The artist’s signature kinetic sculptures, called Skynets, earned him international renown after the debut of Liquid Shard enamored the city of Los Angeles. The installation transformed an underused public square in the heart of downtown into a bustling destination overnight. Shearn has since brought Skynet installations to various locations in the U.S. and abroad where viewers are invariably compelled to slow down and take time to follow the undulating movement of the artworks, which appear to hang in thin air.
Shearn’s expertise in animatronics, robotics and visual effects–gleaned from a 30-year tenure in the film industry as a creature maker and visual effects supervisor–has lent traction to a prolific career as creative director for his studio Poetic Kinetics.
Under Shearn’s guiding vision, Poetic Kinetics has designed, fabricated, and implemented a wide range of projects that encourage audience participation–from interactive projection mapping and pyrotechnics to enormous mobile sculptures. Notably, Poetic Kinetics’ projects both engage the immediate public through interactivity and reach viral notoriety on social media.
In collaboration with the City of Laguna Beach, the museum commissioned a site-specific, multicolored, kinetic installation (a “Skynet”) off Main Beach over Main Beach Park. Entitled Sunset Trace, it seamlessly weaved through the palm trees along the shoreline, traversing sections of the walkways and cliffs in a stunning, windburn display. Sunset Trace was on view from November 5 through November 15, 2020.
Inspired by the graceful murmuration of birds flocking together, or schools of fish coalescing and moving simultaneously, Patrick Shearn’s signature Skynets are a constant reminder of nature moving around us. Suspended using transparent monofilament netting and rigged inconspicuously, the undulating forms appear to levitate in midair, finessed by the unique wind patterns of each site, revealing unseen natural elements in unusual, dramatic ways.
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