A Halcyon Time


Slowly opening the old rusty gate, the space and time thus neatly defined and subtly altered, I enter Greer Upton's installation that is nestled into the southwest corner of the Santa Rosa Junior College Gallery.

The light is dim, there are gentle windblown shadows of leafy branches on the translucent walls of the small temple-like structure carefully constructed in the corner. Poised on large flat river rocks it sits at a very slight angle, not parallel to the gallery walls. That slight shift is a key.

I can hear the soft chirping of birds preparing for evening. I can almost feel the hint of a cool soothing breeze...my first impulse is to slow down, to take a deep breath and relax. This is a place that invites the pleasures and suggests the opportunities of being quiet.

The artist's hand-written words in chalk on the north wall of the space honor her ancestors and suggest that in such peaceful surroundings we can perhaps touch our own memories, come to terms with them, honor them or just take note.

The few red leaves scattered on the clean crunchy gravel remind me of the season and take me back outdoors even while I stay seated on the long wooden bench. I listen to the birds and wonder how the glowing, plant-filled temple (or is it a sun room? or perhaps a small teahouse?) can seem so big and at once so intimate... There is no visible entrance, I am left to imagine what is inside these walls that present me with a constantly changing shadow play of leaves and branches.

Then the gallery walls themselves suddenly dissolve and for a brief moment I enter my own "Halcyon Time!" I am so glad I took the time to visit and sit for awhile in Greer's Garden.

-Robert Comings
November, 1997


from email... BRAVO!
Your Installation

Greer: I made it to SRJC today to see your installation (thanks for the map). I thought it was quite beautiful and well done.
I especially liked the story about your grandmother.All in all, your piece was the strongest in the show--congratulations!

...Anyway, thanks for bugging me and for giving me the map. It was nice to get off campus (even if only to go to another) for awhile, and I really did enjoy your piece.

Wish me well in New York. See you next week.
Michael Schwager
Gallery Director
Sonoma State University


I loved Greer's piece! It was very evocative of other places, other times and had a profound restful effect on me. Took another staff memeber, Phyllis Usina and she said she felt entirely different after the show--it was like walking into summer. Tell Greer she captured exactly what we talked about--mesmerizing light patterns thrown on a wall from Venetian blinds.

Caitlin Downing
Librarian, SRJC