Contributed photo


  • Tue Oct 20th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by the San Juan Islands Museum of Art

Creative people “look at the world differently; it’s part of the job,” observed artist-architect Sam Stubblefield. The glowing lights in the glass windows of the San Juan Islands Museum of Art hint at the mystery of his installation SPACE, MUSES, ETC. He aims to blur the boundaries between art, engineering and design.

SJIMA presents a curiosity cabinet of works selected from previous shows. Sam merges unexpected materials and situations such as plants, boats, computer vision, earthquakes, the internet, jellyfish, real-time data from nature, miles of bungee cord, mixed-reality technology, urban conditions, projected video, oceans, robotics, natural landscapes, and software algorithms. Stubblefield wants his arresting images to provoke thought about new options for seeing art. And they certainly do that.

Data Music is a new genre of music in the gallery that responds to the internet by using real time data to generate music making. The sound emerges from the information driving it. One source used is live information from multiple NOAA buoys in the oceans moving with the tides, or the position of the International Space Station.

With Seeing Space, Sam uses a large format and internally illuminate studies of the moon created in collaboration with NASA. Stubblefield wants us to consider our own point of view on the solar system and our changing relationship to space.

In another piece, Sam was inspired by the life of F.F.J. write poetry. In the poems, Stubblefield imagines experiences in the afterlife and the relationship between death, existence, love and time. The written volume streams on an intriguing digital display.

The life-sized Bear, Bear is constructed of wood and metal. The work was done in collaboration with Sari Knotts a special needs hospice care nurse. Given the nature of her work, she needed to strengthen and refresh herself. So, she decided to realize a physical bear-she sees them as big, gentle beings, a positive, healing image.

The exhibition pulls from recent work on display at the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Italy, during the 2019 Biennale; The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Art Basel Miami; and in-progress work from the artist’s Seattle and Hong Kong studios. Other projects and commissions include Art Basel, Miami, and The American Memorial to Gun Violence at the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Stubblefield was part of the design team of Amazon’s headquarters and Seattle City Light. He says of the experience working with a technical architect, nurse and himself on urban design you get outcomes that are phenomenally different than expected.

Planned during the exhibition, SJIMA will broadcast a live online gallery walk with the artist.

This exhibit is open until Dec. 7. Hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday-Monday and admission is $10. SJIMA members and those 18 and under are admitted free. Mondays are Pay As You Can Days.

This show is sponsored by The Honeywell Charitable Fund; Kim Miller; the Town of Friday Harbor; San Juan County; National Endowment for the Arts; Washington State Arts Commission; San Juan Island Community Foundation; Printonyx; Harbor Rentals; and Browne’s Home Center. SJIMA is located at 540 Spring St. in Friday Harbor, Washington. For more information, visit