Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return annual update is maximal! Not only have we lavished extra attention on beloved locations throughout our House, but we’ve added more new places and artworks than we did in the tremendous 2017 upgrade.
Last year we added a dryer portal, infinity ice machine, and the Wilderness room, which have gone on to become locations of fame. This year we’ve added three new rooms, a new bar and cafe, various installations, a whole bunch of very cool murals, and a new secret portal into the multiverse!
All of these new treasures are now open to the public. Think you’ve seen it all at Meow Wolf? Think again. Now here’s your chance to meet some of the artists behind the eye and mind candy that may just have you time traveling to our door again.
In the Limelight: Light Boxes
Betsy Braly was a notable artist during the build of House of Eternal Return. Her imprint is in the Selig House and Portals Bermuda, where her skills as a carpenter are worked into the grain. After the opening in 2016 she was essential in the design and build of the bar counter in our lobby.
Betsy does a lot of work with wood, her specialty, and she favors natural materials. So no surprise her new installation speaks to both carpentry and nature.
She cites a long thought process as inspiration for the work, “I have had the concept for this installation for a while. Having people make their own work through my work has always been something I have been interested in. As an artist, I think a lot in multiples. I am generally obsessive. I love giant things that are made up of multiples and I have been working with the box shape for quite a while.”
Betsy and her team created the installation for the second floor of the exhibit where it will overlook our venue space. The beautiful sight was meticulously created through the calculated cutting of Baltic birch. Inside each of these cuttings is a changing, glowing, interactive light.
“I really wanted there to be a way for people to make their own light paintings and in a sense make their own work,” she said.
“This idea evolved a lot while working on it, especially the technical parts. The team and I did a lot of tweaking and learning but all while keeping in mind that in the end, the most important part was going to be the joy of the users’ interaction.”
Betsy’s piece is entirely interactive. Through touch our guests can control the lights and even try different patterns to see if they can unlock a secret! Will you be the FIRST to unlock this mystery?
Just Sitting Around: Timeworm
When we opened House of Eternal Return in 2016 we weren’t able to complete all the spots we’d built in our dreams. Some of them had to come later, such as our iconic dryer, which had been a part of our original plan. Another such space is Timeworm: a psychedelic display of light and perspective. Justin Di Ianni, longtime friend and collaborator of Meow Wolf’s did an excellent job leading this project.
You might just have to figure out where a new secret portal is to locate Timeworm in the multiverse!
It’s Always A Good Time For Cakeland
Scott Hove has worked in cake for quite some time. Not like you’d expect though, Scott’s not a baker. He is an accomplished installation artist known for his lavish cake-themed installations. We’re going to be running a video on Scott and his amazing piece in the days to come, so we’ll let him and his work speak for themselves then. What we offer you is this detail, pictured above, to give you a sense not so much of the cakeiness, which you will love when you get here, but of the space’s infinite depth. This room is loaded with mirrors and seems to be as large as the very multiverse it’s found within.
Murals, murals, murals!
There are many new murals to see at House of Eternal Return, both in the exhibit and in the lobby. We’ve already told you about our fabulous new mural in the Learning Center, but here are three more that should pique your interest. Words from the artists behind these murals illuminate them, yet seeing the work in person is something else!
Directly across from Betsy Braly’s piece is Madeleine Tonzi’s new mural.
Madeleine is a visual artist originally from Santa Fe who now lives in Oakland and has wanted to collaborate with Meow Wolf for quite some time. She shared her work with Meow Wolf artists and her aesthetic resonated with the team. We asked if she’d like to participate in our current upgrades and she said absolutely!
“The energy and passion put into what constitutes Meow Wolf is exhilarating and magical,” said Madeleine.
The mural reflects a variety of subjects influenced by Madeleine’s joy of exploration, especially near her home in the bay area.
“My work deals with the experience of place, memory, time, various environments, and how we travel within those spaces throughout our lives,” Madeline said. “It’s heavily influenced by surrealism and focuses on how we remember and cherish the places we experience. Without giving away too much, this mural offers a glimpse into another dimension. A dimension in which you, as the viewer, experience a sense of curiosity for what’s beyond that which is set before you.”
Phoenix artist Bill Dambrova is a painter and museum exhibition designer who specializes in immersive, family-oriented work. Bill says his work is usually something he does solo but that he collaborates from time to time.
“I’ve collaborated on projects at Burning Man and East Jesus, making things like weird temples and sculptures out of cool junk, or painting murals with friends where no one really takes ownership or signs their name to anything. I love making what I consider to be ‘academic art’ but it is also refreshing to step out of that for a bit.”
“For this mural, I started with an abstract background, as I usually do, and pulled shapes from the chaos, referencing some of the imagery and feelings in the surrounding areas.”
Bill explains how the placement of the piece influences the way his murals form and he also notes that he takes narrative into consideration alongside visual and spatial elements.
“The mural is in a hallway that is very much a transitional space. I wanted the work to evoke a feeling of its own but I also wanted it to blend into the connecting spaces. The mural is on the second floor of the house where I was told things start to get really chaotic and strange in the narrative. The existing wall molding starts to get all wonky and there is a portal-type opening into the forest near a ‘tornado tree’, so I was riffing off of those elements and activating the space with lots of expressive juicy shapes that have a lot of movement and color.”
Diego Mireles is an artist who has worked with Meow Wolf before. He was passing through Santa Fe when a conversation on Instagram about art and mutual respect resulted in an invitation to help paint Wiggy’s Plasma Plex, our exhibit’s arcade.
For these current upgrades, Diego worked on a mural on a long wall of the lower floor of the exhibit. The new work is across the forest, around the corner from the caves.
“The idea for this particular mural was designed to compliment the space located directly across from it,” Diego said. He refers to the piece we at Meow Wolf know as the Aquarius Fountain and Pond.
“I named it after being inspired by the fountain feature that Blake Cahill designed for environmental lighting. At the time there were several themes floating in my head that inspired me. I wanted to create a space that would express a personal reverence for Aquarian energy. The pond and the fountain. The timing was around the beginning of February. I am an Aquarius, we are in the age of Aquarius, and it just so happens that I’m doing this mural in the month of Aquarius. Couldn’t be more perfect.”
“The overall aesthetic changes all the time,” Diego said of his artistic process, themes and elements. “The two consistent elements I unavoidably work with are lurid colorfulness and organic gestures. I don’t like to think of it so much as a style, but as a practice. If there is repetition, rhythm, tediousness, and room for experimentation, then it feels good to me.”
Seeing Is Believing
This is some but not all of the additions and improvements that many ultra-talented artists have contributed to the fun and discovery in Santa Fe. More immersive art, interactivity and experience awaits you!