Some sunsets are so spectacular that there's the overwhelming feeling to want to bottle them up and keep them forever. Artist Carly Glovinski has done that, in a sense. Through her series Canning the Sunset, Glovinski recreates the beautiful sunsets she witnesses out of hand-colored sand and places them in jars. With the delicate layers of hues and the perfectly encapsulated swirls, each vessel seemingly transports us to the moment when Glovinski witnessed these stunning sights.
Canning the Sunset began during the pandemic. “There’s a great spot to watch sunsets over this farm field on the way to my studio,” Glovinski tells My Modern Met, “and it just became this ritual because we couldn’t do anything during the pandemic. So the sunset became an event to go to and a way to mark time.”
The sunset has a duality to it. On one hand, it’s a constant in our lives; the sun dips below the horizon every day, and often it goes unnoticed. But on the other hand, when it looks so bright and beautiful, the event feels very ephemeral—like it may never look that vibrant again. “The sunset marks the sky with color in a fleeting moment each day, slipping down behind the horizon like grains of sand through an hourglass,” Glovinski says. “To try and capture it, contain it, or possess it is a futile, and impossible gesture.”
The artist views the jars and their contents as symbols for larger patterns in human existence. “Thinking about souvenirs as objects that attempt to preserve a memory of place and time, this work begs reflection on time moving forward in perpetual motion, and our surrender to the perpetual cycle of day to night,” she explains. “Thinking about souvenirs as objects that attempt to preserve a memory of place and time, I am recreating images of the sunset out of colored sand. This act of ‘preserving’ them in recycled glass jars, also makes a connection to canning, and ‘putting up’ rations for times of scarcity.”