I’m grateful to have been included in “Earth Day 2020” hosted by Gallery Sitka. As mentioned in my previous post, this exhibition was to have opened this week, but things have changed, as we all know. Art continues however. This is a mixed media exhibition. I am a huge fan of photography been shown with other forms of visual art. Melissa Richards, the curator, has done a great job of curation. I particularly drawn to her use of color. You can find the online gallery here.
Earth Day rolls around again on April 22 and it is going to be a difficult one. Like nearly everyone in the world, we’re hunkered down and trying to stay healthy. It is so heart breaking to hear that so many are unable to achieve what was once such a given. And of course, it’s always the most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged who seem to be paying the price, along with those from health care to the grocery supply chain. I am reminded of lessons I’ve learned from a colleague, an environmental scientist, the put this into some kind of larger perspective. The point of environmentalism isn’t to save the planet. The planet will survive, albeit perhaps it will evolve. Nature is stronger than the human race. We need to save ourselves.
In earlier times, what seems like a thousand years, but was really just a month or two ago, I submitted some work for consideration for an Earth Day Exhibition, at Gallery Sitka. The juror is Melissa Richard, a mixed media artist and educator. I’m grateful to have been chosen to show in the exhibition, but now of course, the exhibition will be going online. I’ll pass the url along when I can. Thanks to Melissa and the folks at Gallery Sitka. I’ve mentioned this before, but the power of water is awesome (as in inducing a sense of awe, not as in being really really cool). Perhaps we should pay it more attention.
If you’re in the Boston area, I want to invite you to the opening of my exhibition, “Deindustrialization,” taking place Thursday evening, November 7 from 5 – 7 PM. The exhibition consists of twelve large scale portraits of textile mills from the Blackstone Valley region of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. There will be an artist talk shortly after 5, mingling, and I believe free food! The opening will take place on the campus of Babson College, in the Hollister Gallery. Directions are here.
I want to thank BabsonArts and Associate Director Danielle Krcmar for making this all possible. This work was sponsored in part through a sabbatical grant from Babson College, for which I’m also most grateful. The work was printed on metal, an amazing process, by the wonderful folks at Blazing Editions . Working with them and more specifically Juliette Pascale was a joy. The results were stunning.
On another note, this exhibition is really a bit less of a celebration and more of a remembrance. The industrial revolution in the U.S. and indeed around the world, a revolution that is still going on in many places, brought with it a tremendous upsurge in wealth. At the same time, it brought with it massive sacrifices on the part of those who did the work and the communities in which these mills were built.
The raw materials for the cotton mills prior to the U.S. Civil War were farmed by enslaved workers kidnapped from Africa. Even after the Civil War the combination of share cropping arrangements and terror enforced by organizations like the KKK imposed the most severe hardships on those involved. Working conditions in the mills, though not as bad as one would find in England at the time were extremely harsh. The environmental degradation that occurred because of the mill industrial waste and the repeated damming of the rivers of the Blackstone Valley is still with us today.
At the same time, mill employment helped to create, at least in part, a melting pot, bringing people together from much of the world, into what became in many places a real community. Some of those communities still exist today as well. The boom and bust phenomena, a phenomena which continues unabated, is ultimately a harsh developmental path for our society.
Greetings. For this in New England, I want to pass along an invitation to join us this coming weekend in Grafton, Massachusetts for the Small Stones Festival of the Arts (access the link for more information and directions). This represents a cooperative effort on the part of a number of area arts organizations as you can see.
I am grateful to the photography jurors (Nancy Burns, Scot Erb, Donna Dufault and Robert Ring) for choosing a number of my images for exhibit. They represent a fairly electic display, so we’ll see how that all works. I’ll be there on Friday night and again on Saturday afternoon.
I want to give a major thanks to ArtsWorcester, the cultural hub for emerging artists in Central Massachusetts, for the opportunity to present a solo exhibition of my work in the Franklin Square Gallery at the Hanover Center. I’ve posted about the exhibition, “Under the Highway: Blackstone River Landscapes,” recently but the opening was held on the evening of June 27th. It was a terrific evening bringing together a wonderful combination of folks interested in the arts and the environment. In particular, I want to thank Juliet Feibel, Executive Director who took the chance on staging the exhibition and guided everything from start to finish, Kate Rasche, Program Manager who got it done in the trenches, Tim Johnson, Art Preparator who hung the exhibition and Alice Dillon from Clark University who wrote a nice piece on the exhibition for visitors who stop by over the next four months. The hanging of an exhibition as many of you probably know is an art in and of itself. If the exhibition is not properly hung, including aesthetically hung, the individual pieces of art lose much of their impact. It’s very hard work to hang an exhibition. I know my limitations and Tim will never get any competition from me.
Typically, it’s helpful to get your name in the paper, though these days I’m not always so sure. But there were two nice pieces in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, pre and post opening. Press and pictures from the Opening can be seen at that link. Nancy Sheehan from the Telegram also wrote her very interesting take on the exhibition which she titled, “What nature has given us” which you can also check out by clicking on the link. Thanks to the Telegram for supporting the arts with their coverage.
I have to throw in a another more general plug for ArtsWorcester. As a business person for too many years, my eyes and ears are always assessing how a business is run. Do they know what they are trying to do and do they provide a well orchestrated operation for getting it done. ArtsWorcester gets high marks on all counts even though they are not a large organization. I’ve worked with quite a few galleries over the years, and many of them are pretty shaky on both mission and execution. As some of you may also know, ArtsWorcester has just had a very successful fund raising campaign in a very short period of time. When donors are willing to vote with their wallets, something good is happening.
Finally, thanks to everyone who attended. Your support means so much.