Multimedia exhibit evokes nature

Raylene Lopez
Staff Writer 

“St. Bronxville Wood: Into the Thicket” is an immersive interactive multimedia exhibit that transports guests into a serene forest with sounds of birds chirping and rain falling, along with video clips of trees, lightning and various parts of nature at Cal Poly Pomona.

The video, interactive pieces, sculptures and paintings were all created by Cal Poly alumna Jennifer Gunlock, and Southern California artists Katie Stubblefield and Hilary Norcliffe.

These artists all use wood and nature influences to tell stories intended to open the minds of viewers.

The video itself is toward the back of the exhibit, but the sounds of thunder and leaves crunching linger throughout the space. 

Guests are invited to sit on tree stumps in the loitering space and relax.

Michelle Cairella-Fillmore, curator of the Kellogg and Huntley University Art Galleries at Cal Poly Pomona said this immersive video is for students and faculty to watch as they de-stress from everyday life, to relax and find some peace.

Cal Poly junior liberal studies major Daisy Posadas said when she closes her eyes it is like being in nature. 

“It helps looking at the art and hearing these sounds,” Posadas said. “It connects…nature to the art.”

The exhibit evokes a combination of places to commemorate the artist’s birthplaces, including St. Louis, Knoxville and Bristol, England, highlighted what the environment purpose, according to Cairella-Fillmore

“It’s really just about human beings and the environment and how good the environment can be for us if we take care of it and we give it the opportunity to take care of us.”

Among the works is Norcliffe’s “HWYL,” 2019, which is made up of roots found beneath her driveway. The roots were all brown and attached to a main branch.

Inspired upon finding the roots, Norcliffe wanted to try to make a word out of them. 

She came up with “hwyl,” which means “farewell” or “have fun” in Welsh, and describes the piece as unexpected because all she did was reorganize the roots and that brought depth to the piece.

“There’s motivational energy. I think that also kind of captured what we were after in the show,” Norcliffe said.

Throughout the exhibit are Gunlock’s three series of “Building Boom: Roosting Site.” The stacked wooden crates are spread out in the middle portion of the exhibit. 

Collages of trees intertwined with a building site cover the crates. Gunlock’s installation integrates real tree branches. 

“I challenged myself to put something that could stand on the floor, to take up the room, for people to walk around (and) immerse themselves in and become part of (the installation),” Gunlock said.

Stubblefield’s piece, “Comeuppance,” 2018, hangs from the ceiling down to the floor. 

It is an upside down cone but has a loose structure. 

Various branches and twigs poke out horizontally from the top of the piece while worn out fabric and vines of different lengths drop to the floor.

“I wanted to create something that references storms and growth and destruction and rebirth,” Stubblefield said. “Depending on your idea of optimism and pessimism you’ll see what you see,” 

The exhibit is up until March 26 in the Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly. 

The gallery is open Monday-Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, noon to 4 p.m.; and Saturday-Sunday, noon-4 p.m. A closing reception will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. March 24. 

Raylene Lopez can be reached at

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