Stand anywhere on Ucross’ 20,000-acre ranch and you’ll understand our focus on time and space. We all act as makeshift philosophers when we look out at the expansive landscape or stare at the stars. As we see hills and mountains carved and shaped over centuries, millennia and geological time, we can’t help thinking about our own impermanence. As Virginia Woolf wrote in her novel To the Lighthouse, it’s shameful to think “a stone kicked with a boot will outlive Shakespeare” .
Providing artists with time and space to create new works is also our mission and slogan. Artists and visitors often comment that at Ucross, time slows down, or at least, it moves at a different pace. When we talk about or write about time in this context, it’s often a code name for a sense of freedom, and we want the Ucross experience to provide our artists with a residency and the benefits of having a dedicated time to focus on their creative practice. But what exactly is “time”? There may be no more fertile ground for artists, writers, and philosophers than the ever-elusive concept of time. It is therefore fitting that the first exhibition at the new Ucross Art Gallery centers on how the artist expresses, explores, translates, decodes or deals with the complexities of time.
William Belcher Is the President of the Ucross Foundation.