TOTALITY: A Rare Cosmic Event Series

Artwork courtesy of Julia Oldham.

There’s no  better way to celebrate the cosmos than through the lense of an artist. Or twenty.

Threaded by a celestial theme, varied artists are coalescing this weekend for the exhibition and event series Totality, which promises to be as rare as the coming eclipse. Curator, local artist, and Oregon State University professor Julia Bradshaw has outdone herself this time, organizing an astonishingly impressive series of workshops and interactive experiences to occur over this upcoming Saturday and Sunday at the Fairbanks Gallery, and throughout the OSU campus.

Attendance is free and attendees can have their pick of the packed event schedule which includes live mural painting with our very own J. Beavs, solar filter photography and poetry workshops, storytelling, postcard painting, and sun printing… I mean, could it get any better? Yep, there’s also live performance art and music, the many exhibits all tied to the cosmos, and then some.

The exhibits themselves are organized into various space-themed categories. The Historical Responses exhibit will feature  photographs from Eric William Carroll’s “Standard Stars” project, documenting the deterioration of emulsion peeling off astronomical glass plate negatives. I’m not sure what it means either, but it still sounds fascinating. The photographs have been pulled from the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive, and date back to the late 1800s.

A Social Responses exhibit will feature ever-enchanting sunset images in a single-channel video “Sun/Screen” by New York fairing artist Penelope Umbrico, while side-by-side images of a dying star and birthing star by astrophotographer Tom Carrico will be displayed in a Scientific Responses exhibit. In Space as a Surveillance Tool, Julie Anand and Damon Sauer will exhibit 3 years worth of photographs that reveal satellite trajectory.

Eugene artist Julia Oldham will show her animated video “Laika’s Lullaby” in the Space Exploration exhibit, revealing the dark side of space through our history of sending animals to outer space for research.

“Lumerence”, a short film inspired by the Mt. Wilson Observatory, will parallel outer-space exploration with the human desire to connect to the Universe, and poetry and drawings of aliens from Rick Kleinosky’s “Homeless Journals” are displayed in The Cosmos as a Vehicle for Fantasy exhibit.

Lyrical and Artistic Responses will show meticulous eclipse-inspired drawings by Portland artist and OSU instructor John Whitten, and a painting by Lee Ann Garrison, the Director of OSU’s School of Arts and Communications, personifying the moon through the image of an internal heart. Also on deck will be alumni Ben Buswell’s Lamda prints titled “Four Suns”.

Lastly, the Transformation exhibit will feature thousands of astronomical night sky photographs by Vija Celmins. Three prints in particular were created by Celmins transforming found astronomical photographs – the prints were published by Gemini G.E.L. and loaned to the Totality exhibition by Jordan Schnitzer and his Family Foundation.

This is one to remember.

Totality events take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday. The exhibition will open during special hours over the eclipse weekend, and hold regular hours Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and also be open until 8 p.m. on August 17 and September 21 for the Corvallis Art Walk. A closing reception will be held on Thursday, September 21. For more information or to find a schedule of events visit

By Stevie Beiswanger

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