Solar Totems

 Posted by on January 22, 2018
Jan 222018

Glen Park Canyon Rec Center

Charles Shower Solar Totems

This unique installation is by Charles Sowers. Three reclaimed redwoods receive the “writing” of the sun as its rays are focused by a spherical lens to lightly burn into the wood.  As the sun moves across the sky, the burn becomes a line; preserving a record of sunshine periodically broken by fog or cloudy skies.  The lens is advanced a small distance each day to create a distinct daily line.  After one year the heliograph mechanism is transferred to the next log.  In this way, a work is completed on site and becomes a sculptural archive of the specific atmospheric conditions of the site.

Solar art by Charles Sowers Glenn ParkThe piece was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission at a cost of $92,000 and was installed in 2017.

Solar Totems by Charles Sower

According to the artist, ”Taken together, the three transformed logs turn the plaza into a kind of civic solar and atmospheric observatory, artistically expanding our understanding of place and connecting us to our environment through that understanding.”

Charles Sowers graduated from Oberlin College in 1989 with a degree in Anthropology.  He presently works as an exhibit developer for the Exploratorium.  While not working at the Exploratorium he is creating a vast array of very interesting artworks, a few that have been featured on this website before.