Author Archives: Matthew Stoll

Final Presentation

Midterm Review


A Journey to the Center of St. Monica’s

Very well, let’s take a walk…  The hill begins to dip down, and we descend.  Rocks rise up around the path, worn from age and time.  They are strewn about as if left from some massive force in an ancient time.  On the right appears a huge shelf of polished granite, an island from a lost time.  In its face is a small crevice that opens up deep underneath.  The air from this cave breathes a chilling breeze, promising that there is much more to discover hidden within.

Squeezing into this crack brings us into a small chamber, a place of refuge from the outside maybe.  It is evident that this is an old space, rich with history.  Further exploration reveals a small side passage.  The walls narrow and pinch you as you approach the entrance to further chambers.  Upon entering you are hit with a sudden volume of light.  It comes streaming in bands from huge fissures in the passage sides.  This thin fault leads forward and takes a bend, hitting another portal, through which is a small antechamber.  The compression between the plates of the earth is massive, pushing us horizontally like water deep within the aquifers.

The sideways pressure moves us forward and we break through the rock.  We tumble out underneath a huge cliff face, rising up far above our heads.  The room opens up into a terrific canyon, the walls of which seem to extend upward for days.  Light pours in from the rim of this canyon, piercing down into the depths of the canyon, though it is barely able to explore its extents.  Ravines and gullies run off of the sides, all leading from the center and the force flowing along the middle.  Before passing into the main expanse, let’s first explore the sides of this ancient vault.

Along the perimeter of the canyon run the smaller canyons and caves, formed from the pressure and relentless toil of years of water.  It has eroded away the rock edges, leaving only smooth and polished formations.  It is clear that the water has flowed around these edges, searching for a path to the interior, carving channels in the floor.  We can begin to decipher the age and weight of this grand space by looking at the rocky walls.  The layers here are deep and compressed, telling time like the rings of a tree stump.  Little light penetrates into these intimate and compressed spaces, adding to the enigma of this canyon.

Finally, the draw of the central space becomes too much, and we make towards it.  Cutting through the ravines, we enter into the heart of the canyon, and it is breathtaking.  The walls surround us on all sides, and oak trees, no doubt as old as the canyon itself and implanted deep with it’s stone, rise up over their edges and cast their tremendous branches over its mouth, preventing it from speaking its secrets unto the world.   This is a very sacred and quiet space, long cut off from the turmoil of the outside world.  From outside its protecting enfold you can still hear the sounds of the world, engrained into your memory.

On the far end of the chamber is a powerful waterfall gushing from a small opening in the wall, falling upon the canyon bed and flowing out through the center.  It was this immense force that must have carved away at the rock so many years ago.  Now it sits frozen in time, eerily silent like the last breath from the heart of a dying lion.  This marks the center of where time began and then stopped, leaving this space forever still to the passage of the world.  Empty except for the thick air of memories and dust.

As we examine the space intimately, we begin to gain a better understanding of its history and tale.  Embedded into the carved stone sides we can depict fossils and artifacts, remnants on a lost time.  These ancient gems gleam through and tell the story of this age-old world we’ve just stumbled into passing through Clifton.  They are the survivors of a lost time, giving us clues to how the world once was.  Now they just appear flat and faded, no longer holding the same meaning and glory they once did, just bones in a museum.  Then again, there is a certain nostalgia and sincerity to the whole scene, like the dying words of a classical poet, meant to inspire generations of artists to achieve their own fates.  And with that we begin to really sense the power and weight contained within this timeless cavern, and we must step carefully as we find our way home again, so as not to disturb the majesty of this sacred place for other travelers who may one day come across it themselves.

Project 1- Matthew Stoll

Very well, let’s take a walk….

Entering into the cavern, a crevice in the flesh of the earth, you are at first very compressed.  Compacted by the shifts and turns, you must pass through a series of tight openings, cracks in the plates of the earth.  A narrow fault bends and pushes you into another space, a moment of pause from the tightness.  You discover another opening that promises a surprising revelation.  Pushing yourself through this passageway reveals an antechamber formed by massive stalactites, which then immediately opens up into a grand chamber, carved away after millions of years.  It extends for what seems like an eternity into he darkness, and encourages further exploration of its secrets.

These passageways have been carved away by the hot sunrays.  They pierce through the massive stone and dissolve it, creating repetition and highlighting forms.  They march ahead through the tight passage, as if the walls were shattered after years of tremors.  The next room is penetrated by this light, as if the room itself was the product of these cutting rays.  They highlight the next opening and push you towards it.  After passing through the dark mass, you again enter a much more lit space, but far larger and amazing.  The light pierces through the dusty air, exploring and feeling through the massive room, falling over objects that seem to be centuries old.  The light cascades from above, as if the room has slowly fallen into ruin, and the walls are collapsing.

Entering into the chamber, through a tight and winding gully, you realize the scope and breadth of this ancient canyon.  The walls, formed from the erosion of the ancient rock shows the mark of time.  Symbols of days long past have been uncovered through the layers.  Each band seems to be a mark of time, revealing different compositions, forming a geological timeline of sedimentary rock.   The hard canyon floor is polished by the sands and waters of time, revealing a smooth igneous rock surface with bands and changes in color, no doubt the result of the flowing magma deep within the earth.  Sound echoes off of the tall canyon walls, and after you have paused in wonder of the space, you begin to wonder how you will get up to the surface again.

1. Cave/passage

2. Light/ruins

3. Canyon/rock