I saw The Touch of the Oracle at the Palm Springs Art Museum a few days ago. I didn’t realize “oracle” can refer to a shrine consecrated to the worship or contemplation of a deity as well as an individual considered to be the source of wise or prophetic opinions. Reading about the artist, Michael Petry, and his vision for this site-specific installation, I wondered if he was suggesting that the place–the art museum itself with it’s walls formed from volcanic stone-was his oracle.
The piece is composed of three parts, Golden Rain, Joshua D’s Wall, and The Dilemma. The first two are glass created by a team of glass blowers that worked with Petry. The third is sound: a vocal piece featuring male and female singers interpreting Petry’s text. The music plays intermittingly.
The glass “boulders” are exquisite. They are an array of wonderful colors with molten accretions fused to the glass surface. The intriguing mirrored “golden” rain drops hang suspended from the ceiling. Each of the 100 artists who created the drops wrote something which was placed inside their piece and then the opening was sealed.
The room was almost dark and very quiet. It evoked the feelings I have had going into caves at archaeologic sites. I jumped when the vocal piece burst into sound. The exhibit will be up until July 29, 2012.