Immersive artistry is certainly one of the newest cultural trends, especially in the western part of the US. Both the resurgence of interest in roadside attractions and the phenomenal popularity of Meow Wolf represent that trend on a large scale, but Denver’s art scene has been quick to catch on. The newest addition to the immersive art experience in the Mile High City will be Natura Obscura  — starting January 11, 2019, and running through April 28, 2019, at the Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA). Prismajic is the creative group behind Natura Obscura — composed of Jennifer Mosquera and Eric Jaenike — and their goal is to engage viewers more intimately by offering them an installation that requires more than just looking at the art to appreciate it. It’s half art show and half virtual reality adventure. The installation will be set in a whimsical, surrealist forest where the mystery will serenade curious visitors to get lost in its depths for a little while.

“What’s your nature?” is the question that Natura Obscura wants each participant to reveal, as they explore the installation that combines art, sculpture, digital, virtual and augmented realities. There will be soundscapes, visual displays and things that must be handled physically. Over 30 Colorado-based artists have been involved in the creation of it — including Chris Bagley, Nicole Banowetz, Tiffany Matheson, Travis Powell, Scott Soffa and Ian Wagner — with 10 of those spots secured for emerging “intern” artists through MOA’s Design & Build program. Grammy-award-winning recording engineer Mickey Houlihan, in conjunction with staff at the MOA, has also produced a “custom cloud chamber environment” in the Sound Gallery that falls in line with the thematic guidelines of Natura Obscura and should be an intriguing addition to the installation.

Art by Jennifer Mosquera. Photo by Heather Longway

Imagine “stepping into your favorite painting, where you can hear, smell, touch and explore everything around you,” said the MOA website about Natura Obscura. This dreamlike immersion showcases the promising future of the intersection of virtual reality and artistic enterprises, and Denver is lucky to experience it so soon.

Part of the purpose of MOA is to integrate art into someone’s everyday life. Through their three programs — their indoor museum (M), their outdoor sculpture spaces (O) and their creative art programs and workshops (A) — they constantly sit on the front line of emerging cultural trends. Natura Obscura will take place in the indoor museum, where the president Cynthia Madden Leitner believes thousands of people will pass through. She said in a press release, “We encourage people to wander among the surrealist forest where they will encounter fantastical woodland creatures and hopefully leave with a feeling of inspiration and excitement.”

Model Divinity poses for Natura Obscura. Photo by Silas Carter

The exhibition will be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tickets will be honored until one hour before the closing time to provide enough time to experience the installation. The Museum of Outdoor Arts is located at 1000 Englewood Parkway, #230. 

Tickets are available here, available for purchase starting November 24, 2018.

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