Best new video installation

The Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast

The films of Melika Bass seem to exist eerily out of time. This local artist, best known for her experimental feature Shoals, avoids onscreen details that might tie the action to any particular era, and because she typically shoots on 16-millimeter film, using only minimal lighting, her films even look as if they were made in the past. In her four-channel installation The Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast, exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center from January through April, Bass uses her uncanny style to address the subject of spiritual contemplation. Each projection shows an isolated person engaging in some calming activity: in one an older man writes a sermon after spending time in his woodworking shop; in another a somewhat younger man listens to a prerecorded sermon in his parked car; and in the last two a thirtysomething woman washes herself by a river and changes clothes in an empty church, respectively. Taken together, these studious, quietly gorgeous pieces create a mental space in which epiphany hovers nearby but tantalizingly out of reach.