BEATTY — Shadows. In 2006 Eames Demetrios designated Rhyolite as the capital of the District of Shadows in his fantasy alternate universe. This bit of information can be found on the plaque he placed at Goldwell Open Air Museum next to the Nevada ghost town.
Now the newest piece at the museum depends on shadows to make its meaning clear to observers. Artist Michelle Graves installed “KEEP GOING” over the weekend of Oct. 14-15.
The sculpture consists of those words spelled out with 4-foot-high upside-down block capital letters. Only by looking at the shadows cast by the letters can the viewer see them in normal orientation.
“The placement/color of the letters in the environment will make it like a mirage from a distance,” Graves said in her proposal for the piece. “Then upon closer look, the sun casting a shadow will also say ‘KEEP GOING’ that looks correct, and this shadow will be continuously in motion throughout every day.”
This camouflage-style sculpture represents the “difficulties to remember what it takes to keep going,” she added.
She added that the temporary installation “will create an immersive and contemplative experience for the viewer that is willing to have the adventure, follow their curiosities and remember to keep going.” After installation was complete, Graves noticed that one of the letters had been installed backward, as can be seen in the accompanying photograph, but this is something hardly noticed by the viewer, as the shadowy message is still instantly readable. At the time of this writing she had not decided whether to return to correct the error or to treat it like what watercolorists refer to as a “happy accident,” since the ability to read the message despite the mistake could be taken to say that it is possible to KEEP GOING despite imperfections.
Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.