The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is pleased to announce its new 2023 site-specific installation featuring Northridge-based artist Elizabeth Criss, as well as work by glass artist Sari Scheer. Message in a Bottle, designed for the Michele Kuelbs Tower Gallery, is on view from May 2023 through February 2024.
This long-term installation marks the third iteration of the Museum’s tower installation program, which aims to highlight Southern California artists inspired by the environment and provides an indoor-outdoor art experience for Solvang visitors. Criss’ proposal was selected from the Museum’s 2023 request for artist proposals focusing on environmental impacts on the ocean.
From the sidewalk and walking into Message in a Bottle, viewers are immersed in an underwater world that presents simultaneously playful and wary sea life. Translucent-colored plastic glints in the sunlight like pieces of lost treasure as sunbeams filter through the round room.
Repurposed plastics in the form of painted wide-eyed PVC fish, hanging strands of medicine bottle kelp, and intricately cut jellyfish created from liter soda bottles make the space home.
A raised relief porthole looks out to an underwater landscape of coral and fish, surrounded by mounted glass bottles by Sari Scheer that tumble across the walls. Etched designs embellish the upcycled bottles with detailed images of sea life and carved messages, creating a sense of wonder while making calls for action. Criss’ installation invokes viewers to consider their impact on the ocean – “we can end this plastic tide, it’s true.”