Artist Combines Technology and Tides at San Juans Art Museum

Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:30 am by

Sam Stubblefield in his studio. Contributed Photo


Cre­ative peo­ple “look at the world dif­fer­ent­ly; it’s part of the job,” observed artist-archi­tect Sam Stubblefield.

The glow­ing lights in the glass win­dows of the San Juan Islands Muse­um of Art hint at the mys­tery of his instal­la­tion “SPACE, MUSES, ETC.” He aims to blur the bound­aries between art, engi­neer­ing and design.

SJIMA presents a curios­i­ty cab­i­net of works select­ed from pre­vi­ous shows.

Sam merges unex­pect­ed mate­ri­als and sit­u­a­tions such as plants, boats, com­put­er vision, earth­quakes, the inter­net, jel­ly­fish, real-time data from nature, miles of bungee cord, mixed-real­i­ty tech­nol­o­gy, urban con­di­tions, pro­ject­ed video, oceans, robot­ics, nat­ur­al land­scapes, and soft­ware algorithms.

Stub­ble­field wants his arrest­ing images to pro­voke thought about new options for see­ing art. And they cer­tain­ly do that.

Data Music is a new genre of music in the gallery that responds to the inter­net by using real-time data to gen­er­ate music-mak­ing. The sound emerges from the infor­ma­tion dri­ving it. One source used is live infor­ma­tion from mul­ti­ple NOAA buoys in the oceans mov­ing with the tides, or the posi­tion of the Inter­na­tion­al Space Station.

With See­ing Space, Sam uses a large for­mat and inter­nal­ly illu­mi­nate stud­ies of the moon cre­at­ed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with NASA. Stub­ble­field wants us to con­sid­er our own point of view on the solar sys­tem and our chang­ing rela­tion­ship to space.

In anoth­er piece, Sam was inspired by the life of F.F.J. write poet­ry. In the poems, Stub­ble­field imag­ines expe­ri­ences in the after­life and the rela­tion­ship between death, exis­tence, love and time. The writ­ten vol­ume streams on an intrigu­ing dig­i­tal display.

The life-sized Bear, Bear is con­struct­ed of wood and met­al. The work was done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Sari Knotts a spe­cial needs hos­pice care nurse. Giv­en the nature of her work, she need­ed to strength­en and refresh her­self. So, she decid­ed to real­ize a phys­i­cal bear-she sees them as big, gen­tle beings, a pos­i­tive, heal­ing image.

The exhi­bi­tion pulls from recent work on dis­play at the Euro­pean Cul­tur­al Cen­tre in Venice, Italy, dur­ing the 2019 Bien­nale, The Mass­a­chu­setts Muse­um of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Art Basel Mia­mi, and in-progress work from the artist’s Seat­tle and Hong Kong stu­dios. Oth­er projects and com­mis­sions include Art Basel, Mia­mi, and The Amer­i­can Memo­r­i­al to Gun Vio­lence at the 2019 Chica­go Archi­tec­ture Biennial.

Stub­ble­field was part of the design team of Amazon’s head­quar­ters and Seat­tle City Light. He says of the expe­ri­ence work­ing with a tech­ni­cal archi­tect, nurse and him­self on urban design you get out­comes that are phe­nom­e­nal­ly dif­fer­ent than expected.

Planned dur­ing the exhi­bi­tion, SJIMA will broad­cast a live online gallery walk with the artist.

This exhib­it is open until Dec. 7. Hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri­day-Mon­day and admis­sion is $10. SJIMA mem­bers and those 18 and under are admit­ted free. Mon­days are “Pay As You Can Days.” Please note that COVID pre­cau­tions are in place and that all vis­i­tors are required to wear masks. If a per­son does not have a mask one will be provided.

This show is spon­sored by The Hon­ey­well Char­i­ta­ble Fund, Kim Miller, the Town of Fri­day Har­bor, San Juan Coun­ty, Nation­al Endow­ment for the Arts, Wash­ing­ton State Arts Com­mis­sion, San Juan Island Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion, Print­onyx, Har­bor Rentals and Browne’s Home Center.

SJIMA is locat­ed at 540 Spring Street in Fri­day Har­bor, Wash­ing­ton. For more infor­ma­tion go to

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

Categories: Arts

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0