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Gallery features environmental art in April show

Workshops, installation projects and more part of show

The Columbia Art Gallery, in Hood River, will host "Gesture in Place," an art show designed to get people to stop for a moment, and to think about our relationship with the natural world.

The goal of the show is to explore how the "gestures" we each make can have a profound impact on sustaining or destroying the mother we call earth.

The show opens on Friday, April 7, and runs through Wednesday, May 3.

The public is invited to the artist reception on Friday, April 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. The reception will include a special First-Friday presentation by environmental artist Dan Dancer from Mosier, Ore., and noted installation artist Diana Thompson from Vancouver, British Columbia.

A variety of artists and art forms will be featured during the course of the month-long show, as well as lectures and interactive activities and workshops for artists and art lovers.

Artists and guest lecturers will be exploring the theme of the show "the gestures we make" from perspectives ranging from beautiful and sublime to rough and ugly.

Curator for the show Jules Burton says that the show would appeal to anyone who enjoys art made from natural or recycled products.

She adds, "It will be especially appealing to people who love the outdoors and who love the idea of living in and sustaining the kind of beautiful environments that exist throughout the Gorge."

Environmental artists, both local and from out-of-state, will be showing their work. According to Burton, "They each share a unique perspective on the world we live in, and every one of them provokes us to think deeper about what kinds of gestures -- both small and large -- we could make to improve our relationship with the natural world."

Lynn Hull, internationally active eco-habitat artist from Fort Collins, Colo., shares her perspective on what environmental art, or "eco" art, is all about. She says eco-artists often "re-envision our relationship to nature, proposing through our work, new ways to co-exist in our environment." She says that artists reclaim and remediate damaged environments, restoring nature in artistic and often aesthetic ways.

Mosier artist Dancer, whose installation art will be a feature in the show, shares his perspective on what environmental art is all about.

According to Dancer, environmental art "displays the truth about the world -- both the beauty in it and the destruction of it."

He says that to just display the beauty of the world creates an illusion that all is well, when it is not.


An Environmental Art Workshop, conducted by Thompson will be featured the week prior to the show's opening, from March 27 through 31. Through slide shows, video, group discussion and hands-on class and fieldwork, students will be introduced to the multi-faceted movement called environmental art.

Students and teacher will collaborate on creating a number of works that will be seen in outdoor locations throughout the Gorge.

Cost is $150 per person, but fee may include a child with an adult.

An Art Quilt Class, conducted by Lorna Greenwood and Maria B. Cook, both of Hood River, will offer an opportunity for children to make small art quilts using cloth, paper, flower blossoms and leaves. The end products will be art-quilt postcards which participants can display at the gallery during the show, and then can keep for themselves.

The workshop takes place April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Target age is 8 to 13. Cost is $10 per child; $15 for adults.

To register for either workshop, call the Columbia Art Gallery at 541-386-4512.

Installation Projects

Dancer will be exhibiting his photographic collection of large-scale art installations he worked on over a 10-year period.

The collection, consisting of 30 photographs, recently finished a six-year tour of the country, where it traveled to over 50 galleries, museums and universities. It has just now come home to the Gorge.

A second installation by Dancer, called "Wheel for Toxic Man" will also be featured.

Related to the show, Dancer will be facilitating the creation of an "Art for the Sky" project at the Mosier School, where school children will work together collaboratively to agree on, design and create a large-scale image which will only make sense when viewed from the sky.

The children will be the "actors" in the art, and Dan the facilitator and "sky" photographer.

The photograph he takes will remain on display at the gallery through the duration of the show.

Hood River High School students will be displaying an installation they created under the guidance of artist John Mayo from White Salmon. The project, being developed as part of the Arts in Education fundraiser "Bite of the Gorge," will first be seen at the fundraising event on April 8 and then moved to the Columbia Art Gallery for the duration of the show.

Featured Artists

Peter Marbach, well known Northwest landscape photographer from Hood River, will be displaying some of his fine art wilderness and country images. Marbach is noted for his ability to capture just the right light on the scene, by visualizing what the light would be like, and then patiently waiting until all the elements come together into one "glorious" moment.

Terry Toedtemeier, Portland photographer and curator of photography at the Portland Art Museum, will be displaying select works from his collection featuring Basalt Rock formations.

Dan James of Hood River, harvests large trees that may have been cut down and abandoned, and turns elements of these trees into large and complex sculptures that would be appropriate for display in the house or garden.

Hood River Art-Quilters Marbe Cook, Ginny Fisher and Barbara Fraisier will be creating an array of art-quilt wall hangings out of recycled and found products.

Slide Shows, Presentations and Lectures

Hull will be leading a slide show and discussion about the historical precedents and connections between environmental art throughout the course of time.

Dancer and local resident Claes Nobel, a native of Sweden and senior member of the Nobel Prize family, will present a slide show and discussion about a range of concepts related to the integration of environment and art. Nobel has traveled the world meeting with CEOs and entrepreneurs as well as policy makers and prime ministers on behalf of responsible social and economic development. Their presentation will be on Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day).

Hood River Library will be hosting a free "arts and lecture" series with many of the above mentioned artists in the early part of the month to further education about this form of art in the Gorge. Sessions will take place Wednesdays in April between 5 and 6 p.m., and are co-sponsored by Friends of the Library.


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