In a poetic ode to the natural world, Antonia Wright’s exhibition at Locust Projects, Under the water was sand, then rocks, miles of rocks, then fire, invites viewers to explore the elements of night and day, past and present, and of flowers in bloom. Her installation is nostalgic and fully immersive, and uses both technology and nature to synthesize film, sculpture and jazz into a brilliant sensorial experience. A highlight of Miami’s lively arts season, Wright’s show offers a respite—a temporal and spatial capsule—in the heart of the Miami Design District.
For the duration of Under the water was sand, Locust Projects’ central space will be cloaked in darkness and transformed into a maze with flowering “Night Blooming Jasmine” plants. With only a curtain separating the gallery from Wright’s nocturnal Neverland, viewers will be met with the fresh scent of jasmine flowers and a soundscape composed by experimental jazz musician Jason Ajemian. Noon will feel like midnight, with music and smells that conjure an entirely new environment.
As visitors find their way through a maze of suspended plants, they will be moving towards the light emitted by a projector at the center of the room. Here, Wright’s new film shows an interpretation of a traumatic event from her youth. “Through the duality of light and dark, the exertion of control over elements from the natural world, and the reenactment of an incident from her life, Wright considers the fragile border that separates life and death,” explains Elizabeth Shannon, exhibitions and programming director at Locust Projects.
Wright’s installation will shift from “night” to “day” at 5:30 p.m. each day, where a timer will activate the lighting and turn the space into a sculptural installation. Perhaps most telling in the passing of time, the “Night Blooming Jasmine Flowers” will close as the room brightens up—or welcomes the daylight—again. Visitors can watch this short choreographed transition at sunrise, which according to the artist, will take place at 5:30 p.m. daily through October 8.
Under the water was sand, then rocks, miles of rocks, then fire opens on Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m., and will shift from “night” to “day” at 9 p.m. for opening night. A conversation with the artist will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Locust Projects (3852 North Miami Avenue). For more information, visit locustprojects.org.
Photo: Under the water was sand, then rocks, miles of rocks, then fire, 2016.
Single Channel Video (still). 2 minutes 20 seconds. Courtesy of the artist.