“La Terre, c’est nous” on view this month at the Cultural Arts Center
Few artists are more resourceful than those dedicated to celebrating and protecting our planet.
In “The Earth is Us: Forging a New Relationship,” on view until October 29 in the main gallery of the Priscilla R. Tyson Cultural Center for the Arts12 artists use recycled materials to create works that both marvel at the wonders of the planet and warn of the critical issues it faces.
The curator of the Char Norman exhibition, working from an idea presented by the main gallery coordinator Tom Baillieul, selected artists whose works would explore a “symbiotic relationship with the earth and embrace eco-psychology”. The result is an inventive and imaginative selection of works made with surprising materials and offering a variety of themes.
In his installation “Distortion”, Anita Maharjan weaves together plastic bags and paper towels, discarded sheets and paper (all representing a consumer society) to form a giant caterpillar-like creature, snaking across the floor of the gallery. Maharjan also uses plastic bags to create the graceful “Disruption” wall sculpture.
Using even more improbable materials is Kyle Downs of which “Sport #1” and “Sport #2” are made from discarded basketball strands. The works are beautiful with their bright orange and blue colors. Incredibly, “Sport 2” looks like a rug from the Southwest.
Priscilla Roggenkamp uses upcycled clothing for its elegant and dramatic four-part “We Are Elemental: Earth, Air, Water, Fire” wall hanging.
In the center of the gallery, Catherine Bell-Smith installed 12 podiums, each surmounted by a crystal ball and each comprising dozens of small medallions made of recycled plastic. (Visitors are encouraged to take one home.) Above this installation, titled “Marking Time (a non-zero-sum solution)” hang balls of tumbleweed. Bringing together both natural and man-made objects facilitates Bell Smith in her exploration of nature.
In his wall sculpture “ONUS”, Bruce Robinson incorporates a water filter to highlight the similarities between man (composed of 61% water) and the Earth (71% water).
Of Casey BradleyAmong the exhibits, perhaps the most striking is ‘Hand to Earth (Spiritus)’, created in cast bronze and bark wood. What looks like a perpendicular, rotting log turns into a human finger pointing down.
In his plays “Belonging to the Ground”, Amy M. Youngs celebrates the humble springtail arthropod, a burrowing insect that helps build healthy soil. Using its virtual reality headset, visitors can go underground with the insect or, through magnifying glasses, observe the real things crawling in the terrariums.
The exhibition continues in the courtyard of the Center culturel des arts, where Celeste Malvar-Stewart dressed a mannequin with natural fibers, plants and seeds soon to germinate in “Grassroots”. In addition, hanging from the trees in the yard are Ron SheltonThe bright yellow “wasp’s nests” are constructed of plastic from cat litter boxes. Inside the gallery, Shelton continues to use the color yellow as an environmental warning in “Yellow Waterfall”, a massive sculpture made from shreds of plastic.
Yet Coming to Another Place is an installation of movement and sound, created by Daric Gillwhich will be presented later this fall at the Center for Science and Industry, 333 W. Broad St. The piece promises to highlight the relationship between environmental science and art.
“The Earth is Us” is a fascinating exhibition created by artists, many of whom have ties to the Columbus College of Art & Design. Kudos to them for caring enough about the Earth to use their talents to highlight its challenges and wonders.
In one look
“The Earth Is Us: Forging a New Relationship” continues through October 29 at the Priscilla R. Tyson Cultural Arts Center, 139 W. Main St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Free entry. Call 614-645-7047 or visit www.culturalartscenteronline.org.