Stay anywhere on Ucross’ 20,000-acre ranch and you’ll realize we’re concerned about time and space. We all serve as temporary philosophers, gazing out over the vast landscape or gazing up at the starry sky. We see hills and mountains carved and sculpted by centuries, millennia, and geologic time, and we can’t help but wonder about our own impermanence. As Virginia Woolf wrote in her novel To the Lighthouse, it’s humbling to think that “A stone kicked with a boot is better than Shakespeare.”
Giving artists the time and space to create new work is our mission and mantra. Artists and visitors often say that time slows down at Ucross, or at least it moves at a different pace. When we talk or write about time in this context, it’s often code for the sense of freedom we hope the Ucross experience provides to our artists in residence, as well as the benefit of taking time out to focus on their creative practice. But what exactly is “time”? There is perhaps no more fertile ground for artists, writers, and philosophers to work in than the concept of eternal time. It is fitting, then, that the first exhibition at the new Ucross Art Gallery centers on how artists express, explore, translate, decode or grapple with the complexities of time.
William Belcher President of the Ucross Foundation.