Chaney Trotter: WAN(ING, WAX)ING

Visual Arts Features
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Chaney Trotter: <i>WAN(ING, WAX)ING</i>

From a purely aesthetic standpoint the moon and its phases are visually diverse and appeal to the eye. The intrigue and exploration of this comes about because a moon is not stagnant but constantly moves and changes in size. NYC artist Chaney Trotter built an incredible installation piece in WANING, WAXING, for two different settings. The project was first brought to life via a commission by Jonah Levy for Destination Moon, a festival held on a full moon just before the summer solstice in upstate New York. It aims to be less wasteful than other music festivals. The festivities are fueled by solar power and it commissions organic centerpieces like WANING, WAXING, which was created from resin, twine, jute netting, moss and metal chain. LED lights wrap around the crescent resin molds, which are surrounding by reclaimed driftwood, chosen because it reflected the spiritual values of the gathering.

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After its original commission, Trotter re-installed the dreamlike piece in an old prison cell in Castle Williams at Governors Island. There is an understated yet fascinating difference experience created by this work depending on the site in which it is situated. In the prison cell the work feels somber and ominous, but at Destination Moon it radiates a lighter, ethereal energy. This duplicitous quality demonstrates a vitality not often found in contemporary installations.

Trotter was also inspired by past mythologies and beliefs systems as they are constantly rebuffed, recycled and renewed. A scholar of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, the artist drew inspiration for the lunar installation from teachings about reverence for conflicting entities that reflect balance like the emerging and disappearing phases of the moon.

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The creation of shrines was a common practice for ancient civilizations, so she spent time imagining the kind of shrines we could create with modern materials and technologies. Trotter told Paste her aim was to create, “a type of hybrid shrine that is hypothetically constructed by present-day beings who retained a belief in mysticism, even throughout the evolution of science. I imagine what they would look like if organic elements were intertwined with modern ones, as if carpenters became atavistic and utilized tools from various time periods to create a sacred space.”

Trotter’s work of art is an overwhelming one and serves as a teleportation device of sorts, letting the viewer become one with an entirely new world. WANING, WAXING transcends a purely visual experience by creating a new environment for the mind to explore. Place adds to the mysterious feel of the work, which is equally capable of creating a stark metaphysical oneness or romantic celestial surrounding.

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Trotter wants those who view her work in person at festivals or through digital images to remember that “thousands of belief systems have come and gone, each being replaced by an ideology meant to dismantle it…but with the death of each philosophy comes a period of illumination and the excitement of something new. Much like the waxing and waning phases of the moon, there is a wonderful sense of balance in the way we are in a constant flux of ideas, as if this ebb and flow served to keep us shaken up with nutrients, free from stagnation. Now, more than ever, is a time to not be stuck, to constantly awaken. WANING, WAXING uses the scientific phases of the moon to show how nature doesn’t stand still. Neither should we.”

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