NIGHT MUSEUM

ARCH 580 / JEFF SCHNABEL / FALL 2014

The warm glow of a campfire on a dark night is one of the most mesmerizing experiences to be had. Campfires are the subject in every painting at this night time museum. As the sun dips down below the west hills of Portland, the city lights up. Just on the fringe of the central city core, near the Ross Island Bridge, an old industrial site has been replanted with evergreens. A warm glowing light emits from the stand of trees. Seen from across the river it appears as a large fire continuously burning through the night. A reflection bounces off the water, subtlety quivering on the surface.

To enter the campsite, the visitor must travel along the east bank of the Willamette River until the trial ends just past Tilikum Crossing. Here the warm light can be seen flickering through the urban forest. Upon arriving the visitor discovers the light is emitting from a large semi-transparent glass shard. As it reaches toward the sky the intense orange glow fades into the darkness. This metaphorical fire is at the center of several paintings that appear to be leaping from the flame like embers dancing up into the sky.

At the edge of the light, there is a ramp clad in vertical timbers bathed in ambient light. The ramp spirals circling around taking the visitor up into the sky. The first few paintings are very close to the flame and thus each perspective is in relation. As the visitor reaches the top the ambient light emitting from the glass shard is at its dimmest. Looking down, the visitor can see the distance traveled. The perspective of the paintings up here is also in relation to the distance from the shard. Once the ramp has reached its height it flattens out and begins to turn back down spiraling closer. On the journey back to the warmth of the shard the opposite side of this double helix is explored. At each turn, a new painting is taken in until the visitor’s feet land back on the ground.

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