LIGHTFAST film stills ©️Brownrigg, Dillbohner, Mattes and Scott

Gallery 1
February 24 – June 2, 2024

The four artists of LIGHTFAST are novelist and story writer Sylvia Brownrigg, cellist Monica Scott, and visual artists Christel Dillbohner and Danae Mattes. Beginning in 2020 the quartet began conversing and collecting images – musical, verbal, and visual – which have formed and transformed into the multi-layered exhibition Intertwine.

Scott’s sound sculpture infuses the atmosphere with cello lines that conjure the mystery of birds in flight, while Dillbohner and Mattes’ installations respond to essential elements of nature. A liquid clay evaporation pool mirrors the Earth’s greater water cycle; a large-scale paper silhouette has echoes of a primeval forest. Vines suspended from the ceiling form a sculptural drawing, one created by the phototropic nature of growth. Brownrigg’s lyrical pieces reflect on the lost and the found, and unseen paths in the wilderness; one poem engages with language’s ambiguities in phrases about shadow and light, water and land.

Together, LIGHTFAST’s works invite the viewer and listener into a meditative space that encourages deeper observation of, and closer connection to, our environment.

In addition to the large-scale installation in the main gallery, Intertwine includes a screening room presenting four short films: Experimental Shorts, a playful combining of music and moving images; Field Notes, written and read by Sylvia Brownrigg; Terraqueous excerpts – a work by Danae Mattes; and currents & cadences, part of Lightfast 2o22, the first performance work created together by the artists.

Archive introduces the work of the quartet, offering a glimpse into the process of each artist, and a sense of how the ongoing collaboration evolves.


Public Programs and events

Opening Reception
Saturday February 24, 2024, 5:30 p.m.
Intertwine Suite for solo cello, composed and performed by Monica Scott
Reading by author Sylvia Brownrigg

Performance: sfSound and Hope Mohr Dance
Sunday, March 17, 2024, 2 p.m.
Choreographer Hope Mohr, longtime collaborator with sculptor Danae Mattes, will present a movement installation featuring dancers Belinda He and Tegan Schwab-Alavi. Mohr’s piece will introduce dancing bodies into the multi-faceted exhibit, activating and interacting with its sculptural, sonic, video, and text components. Dancers will also improvise in real time with sfSound musicians.
sfSound – Matt Ingalls, clarinet, Brendan Lai Tong, trombone, Kjell Nordeson, percussion, Monica Scott, cello and Sam Weiser, violin, will be performing a multi-movement work by Monica Scott, commissioned by sfSound with funding by the Musical Grant Program.

Sylvia Brownrigg Reading
Sunday, May 5, 2024, 2 p.m.
Brownrigg will read from her new memoir The Whole Staggering Mystery, published April 24 by Counterpoint Press. 

Exhibition Tour with LIGHTFAST Artists
Saturday, May 11, 2 p.m. 

Join LIGHTFAST collective artists for a tour of Intertwine, their site-specific exhibition currently on view at di Rosa.

Guided Exhibition Tour
Saturday, May 25, 2 p.m.

This 45-minute conversational tour with di Rosa guides closely examines the special exhibition on view in Gallery 1, LIGHTFAST: Intertwine.

Exhibition support provided by

Adam Barton
Leson & Associates
Erik Noyes Consulting
St. Clair Jones Fund
Ultrasonic Audio Technologies
 Intermusic SF Musical Grant Program
Berkeley Outlet: Paul Neidert, Kjersten Walker, Ben Allbright
Montalvo Arts Center, Lucas Artists Residency Program
and individual donors

About the artists

Sylvia Brownrigg is the author of acclaimed works of fiction including the novels Morality Tale; The Delivery Room, winner of the Northern California Book Award; Pages for You, winner of the Lambda Award, and its sequel Pages for Her; and a collection of stories, Ten Women Who Shook the World. Her prose pieces Invisible Countries were published in 2017 alongside artwork by Tacita Dean. Brownrigg’s books have been included in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lists of notable fictions and have been translated into several languages. Her novel for children, Kepler’s Dream, was turned into an independent feature film. Her reviews have appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, and the LA Review of Books. Her new memoir, The Whole Staggering Mystery, is published by Counterpoint in April 2024.

Christel Dillbohner is a painter and installation artist who hails from Cologne, Germany. In 1987 she moved to California, where she began to expand her material language by exploring the use of wax and sculpted paper, turning found materials into handmade book and assemblages. Her visual research is deeply involved with the relationship between personal and cultural memory and the human struggle to live in threatened environments. She has presented her work in numerous installations and collaborative projects in the USA, Europe and Japan. As an associate of the Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Los Angeles, she co-edited with Lise Patt the anthology Searching for Sebald: Photography After W.G. Sebald (ICI Press, 2007). In 2015, The Circum-Navigators, a collaborative project with visual artist Danae Mattes was presented at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Ca.

Danae Mattes is a visual artist working in Berkeley, Ca. Her mixed media sculpture and paintings have explored environmental concerns such as the earth’s water cycle and our place within it. In the 1990s Mattes was awarded several grants in Germany from the Ministry of Culture in Kiel, followed by residences at the European Ceramics Work Center in s’Hertogenbosh, The Netherlands, and the Cité Inernationale des Arts, Paris, France. Her collaborative work includes The Circum-Navigators at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union Library with Christel Dillbohner in 2015, a Lucas Artist’s Residency in 2018 at the Montalvo Center for the Arts, Saratoga, Ca. with Hope Mohr Dance and musician Henry Threadgill, and she is currently a member of the Lightfast quartet. These ongoing collaborations have extended her studio explorations to include performance, photography, and film. Selected Museum collections include the de Young Museum of Art, the Crocket Art Museum, and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Monica Scott has performed throughout the United States, in almost every European country, Argentina, Canada and South Korea, engaging audiences with her energetic, eloquent playing. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1998, Monica has been actively promoting new music – as a member of sfSound, and performing with Composers’ Inc., the Composers Alliance, and in numerous chamber music groups; she was the cellist of the award-winning San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet from 2001-2005. In 2006 Monica formed the cello-piano duo martha & monica with pianist Hadley McCarroll. For the ensemble work incorporated into Lightfast: Intertwine, Monica received a Musical Grant Program award from IntermusicSF. Besides her creative work, Monica is a devoted teacher, with a large private cello studio. She holds a Bachelor in Music from Oberlin College Conservatory and the Soloist’s Diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam.

In 2022 LIGHTFAST presented a series of immersive live performances at the Dresher Ensemble Studio in Oakland, the Bay Area Book Festival at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley, and the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco. The quartet was invited to the 2023 Lucas Artist Residency Program, Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, Ca., to develop the new material for LIGHTFAST: Intertwine now premiering at di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art