Popping up at the Brandywine

In the middle of Brandywine River Museum’s first pop-up exhibit is a painting titled “Red Shift.”

At first glance, it is a giant red circle on canvas, set on the floor in the middle of the room. But look closer and you’ll see the different layers of red, some lighter, some darker.

In the cosmos, said artist Ana Vizcarra Rankin, this is what you would see when a light source moves away from you.

“This piece is so abstract in my own head, I welcome interpretation,” said Vizcarra Rankin, whose first solo exhibit – time/scale – runs through Nov. 5 at the museum. While painting it, “no white could stand up to this red. No black could stand up to this red. This is what the universe would look like.”

The mixture of art and science in “Red Shift” and her other pieces make for a compelling exhibit where world maps and star charts are seen through the eyes of the Uruguayan-American artist. The name of the exhibit refers to “the phenomonelogical aspects of ‘time scale’ – applying personal moments of life to measure the relative distance in the world and the technical geologic term of timescale, questioning our established knowledge of geography and astronomy,” according to a press release.

Among the pieces in her exhibits are “Starlights,” prints of night stars on paper mounted on the wall and lit from behind. These nightlights reveal star charts that invite closer examination.

Vizcarra Rankin is a big proponent of stargazing, encouraging those who visit her exhibit to take time to head outside and look up at the stars. After a certain amount of time, she explained, your pupils will dilate and you will start to notice more stars than you did before.

To research the star maps she creates, Vizcarra Rankin spends a lot of time outside, using both modern stargazing apps and vintage star charts.

“I was looking for vintage star charts to inform my larger pieces,” she explained at her exhibit’s opening reception, describing how she once found a rare map at Princeton University. “It was something very similar to what I had done 400 years later.”

“Winter Circle” is one of her star maps on exhibit. The 8-foot by 9-foot canvas illustrates the winter constellations amidst a sea of shades of blue. Other pieces showcase world maps made out of different media, such as “World Map (Extraordinary Rendition)” which features collage and packing tape, and “World Map (Tropic of Cancer)” which features charcoal and gold leaf on mulberry paper, according to the museum.

Still, other pieces include bits of world maps she has picked up in her travels, pieced together to create observations she hopes will affect the viewers.

“My hope is that encountering my maps may encourage people to reconsider a previously unquestioned belief about nature and its value, or the importance and consequence of travel and mobility.”

Vizcarra Rankin’s time/scale is curated by Tina Plokarz and Kerry Bickford from Philadelphia Contemporary. The artist will speak about her exhibit at 3 p.m. Nov. 5.

For more information, go online at www.brandywinemuseum.org.

If You Go
What: Ana Vizcarra Rankin: time/share
When: Now through Nov. 5
Where: Brandywine River Museum, Route 1, Chadds Ford
Admission: $18 adults; $15 seniors 65 and over; $6 students and children 6 and up; free for children 5 and younger; free for conservancy and museum members. Also free on First Sundays.

For more information: Call the Brandywine River Museum at 610-388-700 or go online at www.brandywinemuseum.org
For more on the artist: www.avrankin.com
For more on Philadelphia Contemporary: philadelphiacontemporary.org

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About Monica Fragale

Monica Thompson Fragale is a freelance reporter who spent her life dreaming of being in the newspaper business. That dream came true after college when she started working at The Kennett Paper and, years later The Reporter newspaper in Lansdale and other dailies. She turned to non-profit work after her first daughter was born and spent the next 13 years in that field. But while you can take the girl out of journalism, you can’t take journalism out of the girl. Offers to freelance sparked the writing bug again started her fingers happily tapping away on the keyboard. Monica lives with her husband and two children in Kennett Square.

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