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In great depth: the art caves of Ra Paulette

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 5:00 am | Updated: 10:05 pm, Thu Jul 11, 2013.

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit one of Ra Paulette’s art caves in the Embudo area, the word “transcendent” might occur to you when describing the experience. “I call it the cave effect,” Paulette said. “There are some perceptual and psychological things that are in play, as far as a medium goes, that are advantages in this work.”

And work it is. The process of creating his underground cathedrals is intensely physical, as viewers of CaveDigger will see. The new documentary film screens at the Center for Contemporary Art on Tuesday and Sunday, July 9 and 14. Even though his medium is relatively soft sandstone, it is rock, and the cave sites are remote. You get an inkling of the effort involved when you observe Paulette trudging, climbing over the landscape on his way to his current cave project, a wheelbarrow and tools strapped to his back. Then there’s all the digging and carving, creating arches and walls, shoveling all the loose stuff into the barrow, and hauling it outside the cave entrance.

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