During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Elliott's exploration of light and natural structure manifested itself in a number of site specific installations, including major installations at Central Washington University in Ellensburg and the University of Idaho in Moscow, among others. Elliot would take over a gallery space, cover the walls with thousands of reflectors in amber, clear, blue, green and red, eliminate gallery lighting, equip visitors with flashlights, and thus create a wonderful "reflective light" experience for the viewer.

By the mid-1990s, Elliott's site specific installations had given way to reflectors mounted onto canvas and wood. Combining safety reflectors with two dimensional geometric designs, Elliott set about to create a body of work that would have the glitz and glitter of our high tech culture but at the same time, would serve as a magical bridge to other cultures and other times.

Elliot's commission for the Hallie Ford Museum of Art has numerous art historical references and associations that are highly appropriate for a museum of art, including references to Greek pottery, Roman mosaics, Gothic stain glass windows, Renaissance tapestries, Plateau cornhusk bags, and contemporary geometric abstract art, among others. Even the title of the piece is a reflection of the building it graces, for what is a museum of art but a "portal through time," transporting visitors to other places, other cultures and other times.

- John Olbrantz
The Maribeth Collins Director


Richard C. Elliot (American, 1945-2008)
Portals Through Time (detail)
Reflector installation at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Maribeth Collins Art Acquisition Fund 2008.074

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