“Sunset Trace” brightens the day for visitors to the Art and Nature Museum of the Laguna Art Museum


It stood out and seemed to fit into the surrounding landscape at the same time.

Attached to palm trees and buildings in and around Heisler Park, “Sunset Trace,” a colorful “Skynet” created by Los Angeles-based artist Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics, flew in a constant coastal breeze on Friday.

“The thing is, it’s so ultralight that the smallest breeze can make individual streamers dance,” Shearn explained, “and then when the wind picks up, depending on the direction of the wind, you can. to really see and experience the kind of larger symphonic movements of the wind in general, how it winds around buildings and goes through trees.… You become really aware of what we are not aware of or what we are not feeling really that is visually hidden from us.

The 650-foot-long exhibit is the featured installation at Laguna Art Museum’s Art and Nature, an annual event now in its eighth year. Art and Nature came to fruition under Malcolm Warner, who plans to retire as the museum’s executive director at the end of the year.

“I think it was really a master stroke from Malcolm Warner, the executive director, to come up with this concept eight or nine years ago,” Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen said of Art and Nature. “Art and nature are kind of two of the key things Laguna loves, aren’t they? We love art, we love nature, the open environment.

“Mixing these two together in an outdoor art exhibit, which they’ve done every year now, has a huge impact, and the community looks forward to it every year.”

Whalen added that this year’s Art and Nature installation was a collaboration between the Laguna Art Museum and the city’s Arts Commission.

This year’s Laguna Art Museum’s Art and Nature exhibit, Patrick Shearn’s Skynet titled “Sunset Trace,” hangs along the Las Brisas Coastal Path at the main beach near the Laguna Inn.

(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The community came to view the exhibit, with some claiming to have seen the Skynet several times already even though the official introduction of the artwork took place on Thursday. “Sunset Trace” will remain in place until November 15th.

Given its skyward location overlooking Heisler Park, the Main Beach, and Bird Rock, the impact of the artwork could, in part, be felt through its accessibility.

“It brightens my day,” said Olivia Bernal, 41, of Laguna Hills. “I love the colors, and it’s just something joyful in this dark world we live in, being home alone and isolated. [because of the coronavirus pandemic] and everything that goes on politics and stuff like that. It’s just a great diversion, a great change of scenery.

Marshall Aren, 67, who said he had resided in Laguna Beach for about 30 years, brought his camera to engage with the Skynet. He said he had seen a number of outdoor public art projects, some of which he felt did not always fit into the landscape, but in his mind, Shearn’s project was able to do so. To do.

“I always find them interesting, but this one really makes me feel like… it belongs there,” Aren said.

The Art and Nature exhibition of the Laguna Art Museum, that of Patrick Shearn "Trace of the sunset," suspended along the coastline.

The Laguna Art Museum’s Art and Nature exhibit, Skynet by Patrick Shearn titled “Sunset Trace”, hangs along the coastal path from Las Brisas to Main Beach.

(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

People of all ages enjoyed interacting with the Skynet. Theresa Marino, 67, of Laguna Beach brought her 6-year-old granddaughter, Brooklyn Darby, with her to check it out.

The breeze picked up as they both walked down the path below. The Skynet reflected its natural surroundings, a collection of colors moving violently under cloudy skies and above crashing waves. Another observer compared the exhibit’s ability to pick up sound to the rustling of leaves on trees.

“You can feel it,” Marino said. “That’s what I love. You can feel it. You can see it. You can hear it.

Brooklyn added, “I love that art can be really cool and it can make great memories, too.”

The beach is sometimes used as a place to leave the world behind. Theresa Cavanaugh, 61, of Laguna Beach described how “Sunset Trace” could have the same effect.

“It puts you in a different frame of mind when you’re just present at the beauty,” Cavanaugh said. “Just the color, the movement, it changes your perspective.”

Shearn is scheduled to give an online talk on the museum’s website to discuss his work, including “Sunset Trace,” at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Art et Nature will also offer a variety of virtual events. Among the offers, visits to museums, as well as workshops with family activities covering the fields of art, nature and science.

The Art and Nature exhibition at the Laguna Art Museum, Skynet by Patrick Shearn entitled "Trace of the sunset," overlooks Bird Rock.

The Laguna Art Museum’s Art and Nature exhibit, Patrick Shearn’s Skynet called “Sunset Trace”, overlooks Bird Rock in Laguna Beach.

(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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