OCEANSIDE — The whimsical, functional art exhibit “Clocky” by artist Mason Brown opened Feb. 21 at the Swiv Tackle Circus Gallery. A mix of Bohemian Grove symbolism, technology and humor, “Clocky” is a collection of handmade fortune telling machines, paintings and an 8 mm film that center around the theme of “belief.”
“I wanted to build a clock,” Brown said. “It’s a lesson in free will. You put your faith in the clock.”
The exhibit is highly interactive. Gallery visitors can ask the all knowing owl-shaped Clocky a question. After a toss of a dreidle-like die and spin of a 10-point star, the position of Clocky’s wings gives the seeker an answer. The fortune telling is all in good fun with the artist’s disclaimer, “Free will is always your best guide.”
“It’s like a magical eight ball,” Juliene Challender of Lomita, said. “Ask it a question, it gives you an answer.”
“I like the whole Bohemian Grove feel to it,” Jack Walsh of Lomita said.
To understand the exhibit, it’s helpful to have some knowledge of Bohemian Grove, the retreat site of an exclusive men’s club with members that include artists, musicians, business leaders and political leaders. In the wooded Bohemian Grove, a 45-foot owl statue is used for important ceremonies.
The owl, all seeing eye and pyramid symbols are present in “Clocky.”
Brown has paid attention to religious symbols and beliefs all his life. He was raised as a Catholic, has a Jewish grandmother, and developed a keen fascination for the Freemasons.
“It’s geometry, art, science, religious archetypes of churches,” Brown said of Clocky. “So few people take time to see (the symbolism).”
The “Clocky” fortune telling machines are crafted from press-printed cardboard and are hand-assembled. “I want to get to nanotechnology,” Brown said. “Assembling the universe the way I want it to be. I played with a lot of Legos as a kid.”
Zines on sale at Swiv Tackle Circus Gallery give insight into Brown and his process of making “Clocky” and some of his other art installations. Brown is also the designer of the rock n’ roll style Cardboard Robot clothing line.
“Clocky” will be on exhibit at Swiv Tackle Circus through April 4.