PAUSE, Exhibition Images and StatementOctober 2, 2023
Reflecting Ecologies Panel Discussion, Saturday, October 21, 2023October 18, 2023
Reflecting Ecologies Opens at MCLA’s Gallery 51 Friday, October 6th with a reception from 5-7 pm. Please come to see this wonderful exhibit featuring the work Bill Botzow, Ashley Eliza Williams, Malaika Ross, Gregory Scheckler, Joan Hanley, and ME!
Artist Discussion 10/21/2023 @ 1:00pm with moderator Kate Abbott Kate is a writer, critic and editor who writes for for the Boston Globe and Berkshire Magazine and she will facilitate a discussion on the exhibit.
Reflecting Ecologies: Artists in Nature explores the intersections of contemporary artists, nature, and ecological thinking. Ecology is the study of the relationships among organisms and their surroundings and each other, often describing how we affect and are affected by the natural world. The artists in this exhibit suggest connections with ecologies via personal narratives of private moments in nature, to philosophical or artistic concerns about their media and approaches to imagery. The artists and artworks in this show often overlap with science-oriented imagery or methods, and with that comes careful observations of the human condition in nature. Ashley Eliza Williams’ colorful paintings develop concepts of the possibility and impossibility of communicating with organisms found in nature. Malaika Ross’s abstract drawings of soil microbes encourage us to examine the microscopic shapes and patterns that exist around us, that are often overlooked. Melanie Mowinski’s intensive journeys to water became a daily practice of endurance, logged as an intimate artist’s book. Bill Botzow’s sculptures stem from wood often from invasive species crafted into new artistic forms borne of his backyard in Vermont. Gregory Scheckler’s delicate abstract silverpoints deal with relationships to time and patterns derived from close observation of nature. And Joan Hanley’s fine-tuned paintings detail commonplace conundrums of our place and influence on nature. The exhibit is hosted by MCLA Gallery 51 and runs from October 6th through November 17th, 2023.
Inspired by Marina Abramovic’s Cleaning the House Workshops, long durational exercises to improve individual focus, stamina, and concentration, and Hamish Fulton’s Walking as Art practice, I embarked upon a 95-day private performance that combined walking to a body of water and immersing. I began on June 21, 2023, the summer solstice and ended on September 23, 2023, the fall equinox.
I established several data collection points:
- temperature of the water
- temperature of the air
- time of day
- companions: human, animal, insect
- engagement of time through observation
- the complex relationship between living things and their environment
This data was recorded daily in a logbook, from which text and image were harvested for A Water Book 23. In addition, I returned from each walk, each immersion with a small rock for the piece, Can what is taken be returned?
I mostly immersed in Roaring Brook, about a mile from my home. This body of water ranged in temperature from 52-62F. Other bodies of water I dipped into were warmer, mid-high 60’s, low 70’s, and a pool that topped out in the 80’s. We take the temperature of a human or animal when we are concerned about their health. What does the temperature of these water holes tell me? Without data from previous years for comparison, perhaps nothing. Yet the act of checking and recording implies a question about the health of these waterways, the lifeline of our planet earth.
This practice is part of my larger examination into the idea of wilderness mindset. My short definition of wilderness mindset is being present to the unpredictability of life, a concept I developed through my walking practice. When one deliberately seeks the uncomfortable– resiliency, perseverance, confidence, and fortitude get exercised. What is done “alone” in this context can also be framed as private performance, an act of endurance in the ongoing care for the body, soul, and planet earth.