A new permanent public artwork, “Nooksack Middle Fork,” by Claude Zervas, has been added to Western Washington University’s collection of public art and is located in the lobby of WWU’s Performing Arts Center.
A related exhibition, “Forest 3.5.,” runs through Jan. 16 at Western Gallery, with a large, computer-generated video projection by Zervas and a luminous sculptural drawing of Skagit River he created with fluorescent lamps and other electrical components.
Zervas attended Western in the early 1980s before moving to Paris, and now lives in Seattle. He is known for his exploration of light and nature by technologically sophisticated means, such as video and electronic sculpture.
The new artwork at PAC presents aerial views of four bends in the Nooksack River’s middle fork, arranged so the sections form a rough circle. Images for the piece relied on drone technology that Zervas used to fly his video equipment above the river.
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Claude Zervas grew up on 40 acres near Deming in the 1970s, and as a child he wandered the forested land near his home.
A dedication ceremony for the new work will be 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the PAC. Afterward, Zervas will discuss his work at a reception at 5 p.m. in Western Gallery. The events are free and open to the public.
For “Forest 3.5” he developed a computer program that homogenizes the color of the adjoining pixels and transforms the landscape into an abstracted reality. In the work “Skagit,” Zervas uses thin fluorescent lights, wire and transformers to trace the river’s flow. The works offer a background for Zervas’ permanent video installation at the PAC.
Zervas grew up on 40 acres near Deming in the 1970s, and as a child he wandered the forested land near his home. Zervas says the the Nooksack’s middle fork is “a little more mysterious than the other two.”
“Having grown up there, it just has such a deep connection that I can’t help but be influenced by it, “ he says. “Maybe those memories, and just the sensibility of the places creep through. And maybe because of the change I see in it every time I come back to visit, there’s a little bit of sadness involved in it.”