WILD AT GALLERY 263
Eco-art is en vogue. The renaissance of the form has cropped up in conjunction with broader social movements dedicated to and demanding action on the now lived reality of climate catastrophe. The young Zoomer generation has a voice through the Sunrise Movement. The Green New Deal is a heated policy point in this year’s Democratic primary. Passages from the long eco-political poems of Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter are popping up regularly in certain circles, and from time to time, one finds the odd quote from Thoreau’s “Walden” in their Instagram feed. The actuality of climate change and its effect on our daily lives has become ubiquitous.
“WILD,” on view through March 14 at Cambridge’s Gallery 263, is a honing of this invigorated energy. It brings together the work of 28 artists from across the country and was juried by Jane Winchell, director of the Peabody Essex Museum’s Dotty Brown Art and Nature Center. The exhibit focuses on the relation between artist and nature, especially in this world of environmental change. The works run from paintings to sculptures and photographs to installations to video.
What is most engaging about these works is their rejection of art as detritus. The temptation of producing works that exemplify the human to planet relationship in contemporary times as tainting and ugly is a base assumption. But the artists on display in “WILD” forego the expected. Each take hold of a highly personal relation — politically, ethically charged or not — to explore this perianal, complicated partnership.
“Dorchester Bay Vignette” and “Plastic Pearl” are two works that play with the intersection of water and pollution.
“Dorchester,” a short film by Kyle Browne, alternatives between a shot of live crabs in a bucket, crawling over one another to reach the top and an eerie sequence of a women just under the water-line. The woman — who is not identified — lies supine, Ophelia-like, and superimposed over her is an image of a brick tied to a long purple rope.
“Plastic Pearl” is a detailed oil painting measuring 46 by 36 inches by Moonhee Kim. The painting shows half of an oyster shell. Rather than a pearl nestled inside, there are plastic and glass bottles with some bits of plastic bags. Emanating from under the junk are rays of light; perhaps the pearl is still there, being choked by the pollution — but that’s left for the viewer to speculate. The two works are among the more overt works in the exhibition, but their originality and rejection of making what they depict as grotesque, but more layered, is moving.
Six photographs serve as the glue that holds the show together.
“Dog Bites Bear,” taken by Ralph Robinson, is a snapshot of two dogs reacting to large posters of brown bears. One dog, with a sleek black coat, is barking assertively at one of the posters while its partner stands intrigued and wearing a red vest. The environment around them is gloomy and stark. The black dog is muzzled. It is obvious that we are in an urban setting: there is a dirty stream running behind the rusted-out chain-link fence the posters are affixed to; in the distance is a stoic apartment building and a cloudy pearl-gray sky.
Another striking photograph is “At Home” by Sasha Pedro. We see a young woman — I assumed was the photographer — sitting at a white table. She is watering a common houseplant — which may or not be fake — with a plastic Poland Spring water bottle. Her face is passive and indifferent; her head is crowned with a collection of blue, pink, green and white flowers that appear to be artificial. Pinned to the wall behind her is what appears to be a bird made of paper or cloth in the crucifixion pose.
The way these two photographs play with the notion of the artificial and the real is bracing. So much of our modern relationship to nature falls between these two extremes, and to see it staged is confronting. More so in that what is artificial in the two images are not cast off bits of junk, but specifically placed, even misleading, additions to the environment. We tend to overlook litter. It is harder to overlook a poster of a bear or a crucified paper bird.
The placement of the photographs at different intervals keeps one grounded as one visits more adventurous and abstract works in the show. They serve as a solid reality check; recorded documents that sit starkly among the more challenging works.
“Rhino” by Gretchen Woodman is very much the centerpiece of the exhibition. The mammoth work consists of three large sheets of silk on which Woodman has painted a rhinoceros. Each sheet depicts the rhino in different stages of composition, but viewed head-on, they make a detailed and arresting image of the animal. It sways gently back and forth, as if breathing, and blurs the image, drawing to question the existence of the rhino in our highly human-centric world.
While “Rhino” is one of the largest mixed media pieces in the exhibit, “Mine,” by Matt Hufford, is one of the smallest. The piece is composed of a food tin found by the artist that is rusted and crushed, as if driven over, and Hufford has covered it with gouache of pale blue, lavender and a dusty red. Of all the pieces in the show, “Mine” is the rawest and, in many ways, the most fitting to the theme. It is the most explicitly salvaged work and Hufford’s skill at bleeding the delicate colors into one another feels as natural as the weathered rust.
However, two works that use an animal for purposes of décor and vanity stand out from the rest.
In “The Country Fair 01,” photographer Steven Edson presents a photograph of a man with a coyote pelt wrapped around his shoulders. The man’s arms are covered in tattoos and the fur still holds its shine. The coyote’s face is flattened and elongated in the way common with such pelts. The coyote no longer has its eyes. The photograph is bathed in late-afternoon light, tinging the man’s arms and the coyote’s fur with an almost supernatural gold.
By contrast, “Silver Fox Taxidermy,” a highly-detailed oil painting by Wing Na Wong, meticulously shows a taxidermy fox that feels more alive than if we were presented with the original. It is a rich portrait of browns and shimmering whites. But much like Edson’s photograph, it is the eyes that are most disconcerting. While just about every inch of the painting is vibrant, the fox’s eyes feel dead in a way that is usually reserved for only those times when you’re looking at the stuffed animal itself.
This balance that both Edson and Na Wong capture is what makes them the most striking works in the show. The ways we manipulate the bodies of other animals, as we do with the elements, in order to make a beauty we find captivating is an age-old habit we confront over and over again.
With the exception of “Silver Fox Taxidermy,” the paintings in the exhibit, while wonderful pieces, do not feel as belonging to the theme as the other works. “Colony Collapse” is an energetic and beautiful acrylic painting by Sophy Tuttle that depicts bees and their honeycomb. Woven into the honeycomb are chemical compounds. Tuttle’s style is slick and painstakingly done and the content is in keeping with environmental change, but it lacks the personal relationship of artist to planet that the other works in the show have at their core.
What makes “WILD” a confronting experience and exhibitions is the varied perspectives that it gives platform to. There is something at once comforting and challenging about looking at a problem like climate change, or even on a smaller scale, just how we, as humans, interact with the environment, when given a plethora of different examples. We can make such problems manageable by confining them to select images and bits of data, but to be presented with works by artists that are attuned to the issue of environmental catastrophe, especially when the works are unique and personal, is another story. The strength of “Wild” lies in the detailed and multivariate perspectives each artist brings, showing us a different, on-the-ground perspective that cannot be ignored.
(“WILD” is on view through March 14 at Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St., Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit gallery263.com.)
WILD, Gallery 263, Cambridge Massachusetts
A national juried exhibition
On View: February 20–March 14, 2020
Gallery Hours: Wednesday–Saturday, 1–7 PM
Reception: Friday, February 28, 7–9 PM
Gallery 263 is pleased to announce our upcoming national juried exhibition, WILD. This show features the work of twenty-nine artists who explore—through contemplation or interference—human existence with nature in a time of planetary change. WILD is juried by Jane Winchell, the director of Peabody Essex Museum’s Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center.
In WILD, a range of media, including photography, painting, sculpture, and video, is on view. Liza Clement, fascinated by ecological phenomena in the age of the Anthropocene, imagines a hybrid organism in ectosymbiotic commensalistic behavior (hybrid), by using plastic, light, and heat to increase or decrease growths of found and collected natural and inorganic elements. In Reduce, Reuse, Recyclone II, Andrew Wood strives to combat climate chaos by embodying sustainable order through the use of found materials and renewable balsa wood. Gretchen Woodman’s Rhino, a kinetic wall hanging comprised of multiple layers of painted silk, mimics inhales and exhales through gentle movements in the fabric and captures the struggles of animals existing alongside humans. Not only does the work on view in this show reference art historical depictions of landscape and nature, but it also shifts the perspective to highlight the tensions and complications of human interaction.
About the Juror
Jane Winchell has been the director of Peabody Essex Museum’s Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center since its founding in 2003. She started at PEM in 1992 as curator of PEM’s Natural History collection. She then led the development of the museum’s original Art & Nature Center – created to appeal to intergenerational audiences – as well as a complete re-design and expansion of the Center in 2013. She has curated more than 20 contemporary art and science exhibitions at PEM on myriad topics, ranging from visual perception to bio-inspired design. She is currently developing a show for 2021 on climate action. Her background is in the natural sciences, communication, education, and the performing arts. She holds a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and two graduate degrees – an M.S. in Science Communication and an M.A. in Biology – both from Boston University.
Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY
Chronogram, Arts, Culture, Spirit
“Animalia” at Ann Street Gallery
Historically, the first gods were amalgams of animals and humans. Indians prayed (and continue to pray) to the elephant-headed Ganesh; Egyptians worshiped the jackal-headed Anubis. Many of us see divinity in our cats and dogs and cockatiels. "Animalia," a show at the Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh, celebrates nonhumans in contemporary art.
Twenty-seven artists depict horses, chickens, cats, dogs, snakes, foxes, caterpillars and one squid. Gretchen Woodman's drawing Sounding is a clever image of a church bell with a deer's head as the clapper. " Animalia" runs through January 11.
Great Bay Community College, Portsmouth, NH
Exhibit Runs: September 17th - November 26th
Opening reception: Thursday October 4, 2018, 5-7 PM Catered by the Greenbean.
Materiality: Between Thought and Presence exhibiting at Great Bay Community College Gateway Gallery Portsmouth
The Gateway Gallery at Great Bay Community College is proud to present Materiality: Between Thought and Presence, a collection of full size, kinetic graphite drawings of animals by Gretchen Woodman. The exhibition will run from September 17 to November 26, 2018. The public is invited to join us on Thursday, October 4th from 5-7 PM for an opening reception.
Woodman is a contemporary realist whose drawings and paintings represent the enigma of the human-animal relationship. Sometimes humorous, but more often serious, her work leans toward the side of the animal.
As lifelong native of NH, she earned her BFA from the University of NH and her MFA from the NH Institute of Art. She has participated in group shows at Indiana University, John James Audubon Center in Pennsylvania, Cape Cod Museum of Art, Eastern Kentucky University, Frontline Arts in New Jersey, as well as several shows in New Hampshire. This is her fourth solo exhibition.
Information on each artist and their work can be found in the gallery.
The Gateway Gallery is located inside the atrium entrance of Great Bay Community College at 320 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth, NH 03801 and features the work of local New England artists. Contact Annette Cohen at email@example.com 603-427-7665 with any questions.
TWIGGS Gallery, Boscawen, NH
The latest exhibit at the Twiggs Gallery will be “Intertwined: Nature, Chaos, Hope...” An opening artists’ reception will be Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. It will be on display through Oct. 28.
Tracy Hayes, Victoria Hussey, William Turner and Gretchen Woodman became friends while pursuing MFA degrees at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. In their conversations, they discovered a shared interest in culture, humanity and ecology.
The artists in the exhibit have created works that explore the duality of nature: the delicate fragility and powerful forces of the natural world.
Woodman’s work explores the human and animal relationship. Turner portrays nature’s force decomposing the man-made machine crumbling to rust and moss. Hussey’s mixed-media landscapes show organic forms and elemental forces. Hayes’ images suggest a behind-the-scenes view of nature overcoming human chaos.
For more information, visit twiggsgallery.wordpress.com.
MILL BROOK Gallery and Sculpture Garden
Playful and haunting
Artists' creations decorate Mill Brook's indoor galleries and span the landscape
BY LISA BROWN
SPECIAL TO THE UNION LEADER May 02. 2018 12:56PM
Sculptor Michael Alfano's “Stroke of Genius” is part of the spring/summer exhibit now open at the Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Concord.
If you go...
WHAT: Spring/Summer Exhibition
WHERE: Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden, 236 Hopkinton Road, Concord
WHEN: Thursday through Sept. 2
INFO: millbrookgallery.com or 226-2046
Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden is unveiling an exhibit on Saturday that promises to be thoughtful, haunting and playful.
Mill Brook’s uniqueness is that it is a gallery both indoors and outdoors, all within the city limits of Concord. There are three show rooms inside and a sprawling outdoor sculpture gallery featuring the work of more than 70 artists from around New England.
The gallery and sculpture garden were founded in 1996 by artist and art teacher Pam Tarbell.
“There are incredible artists in your own backyard, and people don’t realize this. Ironically, the hardest people to get out here are the people from Concord,” says Tarbell. “Years ago, when teaching art classes after school, I realized there was very little art here for my students to see in the state capital.”
Tarbell has created the perfect venue for one to discover art in a peaceful and nurturing environment. Mill Brook sits on a rural country horse farm with perennial gardens, fields and ponds. A long linger through the property is almost a guarantee.
“This is where art and nature meet,” says Tarbell.
New Hampshire artist Gretchen Hill Woodman, one of the featured artists in the spring/summer showcase at Mill Brook, explores human and animal relationships through her paintings. Her pieces are statements, some profound, others haunting and yet full of beauty.
Woodman’s work involves explorations in many media: charcoal; colored pencil and pastel on paper or panel; acrylic paint on acetate; photography; and small mixed-media objects and installations.
Woodman’s focus is on humans’ interaction with animals.
“I try to create an emotional connection with the animals,” says Woodman. “Some of my images are faces of animals, and they engage the viewer to look back at them, in the eye, in a sort of equality. I want the viewer to see the animal as an equal.”
In many of Woodman’s paintings there are subtle statements about the environment. “Greenling,” a graphite powder-on-paper piece, is one of them.
“‘Greenling’ is a polar bear in a fish bowl. It is a reference to space and habitat,” Woodman says. “The bear is running out of room to live and is stuck with nowhere to go.”
HEALING NATURE: Human Vision, Art & the Environment
Together we hope to create in this exhibition, a little cosmos, a platform to observe nature keenly, to ask questions about the earth’s systems and to make commitments that these inspirations will continue to make life rich for those that follow us. – Juror Mark Adams
“Because the beauty and diversity of Cape Cod’s natural environment is integral to the life of Cape Codders and to so much of the deeply felt work of our artists, the Museum is putting this Spring’s spotlight on nature’s importance and its connections to art both locally and nationally in two exhibits,” said Angela Bilski, interim operating director of Cape Cod Museum of Art. (CCMoA)
Preserving the Very Nature of Cape Cod, in collaboration with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC), is currently on exhibit through May 20, 2018, and the national juried show, Healing Nature: Human Vision, Art & the Environment exhibit is on view from March 29 through May 27 with a public reception on April 5. More than 700 diverse artworks expressing the artist’s relationship to the natural world or their response to issues confronting the environment were submitted for Healing Nature from around the country.
Juror Mark Adams, a cartographer/geologist with Cape Cod National Seashore and a painter, selected the work of 56 artists for the show which includes painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. The awards of $500 for the Most Fitting Theme, $250 Jurors Choice Award and Honorable Mention will be announced at the reception on April 5. Seven of the artists are from Cape Cod: Craig Brodt, Centerville; Eileen Casey, Sandwich; Peter Coes, Cummaquid; Jane Paradise, Provincetown; Victoria Schuh, Barnstable; Lew Schwartz, Wellfleet, and Laurence Young, Provincetown.
“Artists are keen observers, participating deeply in the natural world, from the micro-world of the garden to the seafloors and wildernesses that we must strive to reach. The submissions were powerful and ranged from the subtle to the dramatic. I was drawn particularly to work that came from a direct experience of the natural world.
“The themes of connection and healing and nature’s importance are all represented here, sometimes in intangible ways using visual languages that provoke questions and illuminate how the world works. Together we hope to create in this exhibition, a little cosmos, a platform to observe nature keenly, to ask questions about the earth’s systems and to make commitments that these inspirations will continue to make life rich for those that follow us.”
Gretchen Woodman of Nottingham, New Hampshire, represented by her drawing, Precious, explores human/animal relationships. She says that by investigating the essence of the animal through visual art, she creates emotional connections to animals and that “by fostering a caring attitude toward all living beings, we connect more closely to our earth and each other."
Mark Adams - Juror’s statement:
The idea of “healing nature” reads both ways. It could signify nature’s power to heal us through our immersive experiences in the world but it also reads as a strong admonition, with “healing” as a word of action. Artists are keen observers, participating deeply in the natural world, from the micro-world of the garden to the seafloors and wildernesses that we must strive to reach. The submissions were powerful and ranged from the subtle to the dramatic. First and foremost, I looked for visually strong and moving images. I was drawn particularly to work that came from a direct experience of the natural world. Also, works that expressed a human connection to our place in the natural world stood out. In art, there needn’t be an explicit message or an editorial — no matter how much the world needs all our articulate images to bring us closer to harmony with the environment. The themes of connection and healing and nature’s importance are all represented here, sometimes in intangible ways using visual languages that provoke questions and illuminate how the world works. Congratulations to all the artists for their accomplished work. It was gratifying to bring together such a diverse collection — from photography to printmaking to painting to sculpture. Together we hope to create in this exhibition, a little cosmos, a platform to observe nature keenly, to ask questions about the earth’s systems and to make commitments that these inspirations will continue to make life rich for those that follow us.
Mark Adams is a cartographer/ geologist with the Cape Cod National Seashore and a painter represented by the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown. His work was the subject of a 2017 retrospective at the Provincetown Art Association. He has exhibited in New England since the 1980s and lives in North Truro.
GRETCHEN HILL WOODMAN
42 Maple Contemporary Art Center is delighted to welcome New Hampshire artist, Gretchen Hill Woodman to the gallery for the month of November with an opening reception on Friday, November 3rd from 7pm to 9pm. Woodman received her BFA from the University of New Hampshire and went on to obtain a Master's Degree in Fine Art from the NH Institute of Art after a long career as an art teacher.
Woodman creates drawings, paintings, and mixed media works to explore human/animal relationships in two ways. She researches issues within the field of human-animal studies to generate concepts to explore visually. In addition, she seeks the essence of the animal through visual means to create emotional connections to animals.
Woodman's work involves explorations in many mediums: charcoal, colored pencil and pastel on paper or panel, acrylic paint on acetate, photography and small mixed-media objects and installations.
She wishes to make room in the human mind for animals to be perceived as equally deserving of environment, safety, and respect.
CONVERGENCE OF SOULS:
THREE INTERPRETATIONS, THREE STYLES
Tracy Hayes, William C. Turner, and Gretchen Woodman
Exhibition: August 29, 2017 – October 6, 2017
Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) Gallery
300 Summer Street M1
Boston, MA 02210
William Turner, Tracy Hayes and Gretchen Woodman became friends while taking art classes at NH Institute of Art in Manchester, NH. During many conversations, the three realized their common interests in culture, humanity, ecology and wildlife. While Woodman pairs human objects with animals in a suggestively painful manner, Turner portrays nature decomposing the man-made machine; crumbling industry into rust and moss. Hayes’s images are suggestive of a process underlying Turner’s decomposition; a behind-the-scenes view of nature winning over human chaos. Collectively, this convergence of works presents a vision of hope for the future of all life.
100 Market Street Exhibit Sept. 1 through Nov. 15, 2017
100 Market St.
Nine of Gretchen Woodman's pieces will be on display at 100 Market Street for the Fall 2017 Season. The theme of the show is "Dark Arts/Light Arts". Gretchen has created four new pieces based on this theme. The new pieces are on display on the main floor of the building.
The Gallery at WREN
On Friday, July 1, from 5-7pm the Gallery at WREN presents the opening reception of EYELINES, a solo exhibition of paintings, illustrations and objects by New Hampshire native Gretchen Woodman.
Connecting her interests in art and social science, including new branches of sociology, called Human Animal Studies and Anthrozoology, Woodman’s work addresses human practices and beliefs as they relate to other living beings. Through her investigations, she challenges our homocentric view of animals, and explores ways to close the empathetic void between non-human and human suffering.
“The work is, in a word, stunning,” says Gallery Coordinator, Katherine Ferrier. “The combination of large scale, attention to the finest detail, and the insistence on direct eye contact with the animals invites viewers into surprising relationships with the animals, creating a palpable space of empathy in which to re-imagine how we go about sharing the world with creatures great and small.
EYELINES includes works in charcoal, colored pencil and pastel on paper, acrylic paint on acetate, as well as photography and small mixed-media installations. The exhibit is generously sponsored by Leigh B. Starer Design, and will run through the month of July. The Gallery at WREN is open daily 10am-5pm.
Comments from Muybridgeshorse.com
At the Living With Animals conference last month, I had the chance to briefly meet and look at the beautiful book Enchanting Cervidae by artist Gretchen Hill Woodman. Gretchen’s work stood out to me, particularly Overtaken, a mixed media piece depicting a brilliantly colored deer against a bright white background, and embellished with designs reminiscent of carousel animals (I’m thinking of work by Tim Racer). Gretchen’s charcoal drawings, sometimes including colored pencil, watercolor, pastel, and graphite, move beyond traditional animal portraits. My favorites are the pieces that show “the animal affected by human constructs,” literal representations of the ways our manmade tools and constructs affect animal life. Looking at this work, I find myself thinking of Michael Zavros’s falling horse drawings and Josh Keyes’s paintings, some favorites of mine.