Mutual Gaze/Call and Response
Energy Co-op of Vermont Gallery
Artists Talk, Reception, & Catalog Release
Wednesday, July 11th, 5-7PM
Curator and artist Riki Moss brings together six Vermont artists all of whose work explores humankind’s relationship to the environment, and specifically how the natural world communicates with humanity when it is in peril.
The gallery is made possible through the support of Energy Co-op of Vermont.
The artwork in the exhibition, like the exhibition title “Mutual Gaze/Call and Response”, refers to two particular types of cultural dynamic that also play out between humankind and the environment.
“If we look gently and long at the natural world, it begins to return our gaze,” said curator Riki Moss. “Listen and you will hear the world listening to you.”
Call and response is a form of interaction between a speaker and a group of people, be it verbal or non-verbal, where the orator’s points are punctuated by an expression from the audience. In the work presented in the exhibition, the call and response is between the artist and the natural world and the role of orator and congregant varies depending on the work. A mutual gaze is an act of non-verbal communication between two people, often signifying a psychological or emotional connection.
“If we look deeply into the heart of our planet we find it has been looking at us all along. The gaze is mutual,” Moss explains. “What one takes from this experience – joy, anxiety, guilt, unity, separation, heartbreak, glory, whatever sense one makes of our relation to this marvelous earth – it is up to the viewer.”
All of the work in the exhibition explores these themes of looking, listening, and responding.
Moss’ The Paper Forest is an ongoing installation and sound art piece that explores humankind’s dialogue with the natural world. The collection of sculptures, formed with hand-made pressed abaca paper, evokes the idea of reciprocal perception, a call and response between the viewer and the viewed, between seeing and being seen. The installation includes a number of sound pieces that are triggered by the movement of the viewer.
Cami Davis’ Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night was painted in response to the Arkansas blackbird die-off of February 2011. The painting presents images of irises and blackbirds in dialogue with one another as a metaphor for exploring human’s collective awakening.
Janet Fredericks’ River Scroll, a large watercolor and graphite drawing, is a record of dialogue between the artist and the New Haven River in Lincoln, Vermont. Fredericks immersed the 30-foot scroll in the river and used graphite to respond to the flow or vocabulary of water by drawing on the paper. She brought the scroll back to her studio where she used water to add colored pigment. She then returned the paper to the river where it was immersed again, allowing the conversation to continue and additional markings to be added. River Scroll is the result of this conversation.
Linda E. Jones exhibits a selection of work from her “Decay” Series. The oil and mixed media on wood panels explore how life emerges from natural decay. Over the years, Jones has developed a collection of forms and marks that have become integral to the vocabulary of her paintings. In the past decade, she started to incorporate natural material into her work. “A snag or dead standing tree whose cavity contained stacked, pancake-like fungus led to more sticks, bark, more discoveries and internal explorations,” explained Jones. The result is a body of work that documents Jones’ exploration of the natural world, her discoveries, events, and epiphanies.
Emiko Sawaragi Gilbert and Janet Van Fleet collaborate on a site-specific installation Blowing In The Wind. Gilbert pairs images of the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma and Futaba, Japan with the currently-operating Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon. The images provide a backdrop for a sculptural work by Van Fleet that is stuffed with fresh leaves. Over the course of the exhibit the flora will dry and brown, a performance that will mimic the effect of radiation leaks on the world around the two power plants.
“Mutual Gaze/Call and Response” takes place in the Energy Co-op of Vermont Gallery which is part of the Winooski Pop-Up Gallery District, June 22nd to August 4th.
Kasini House has published a catalog to accompany the exhibition. The catalog is available HERE.
An artists’ talk, reception, & catalog release will take place on Wednesday, July 11th, from 5-7PM.
The exhibition is available for circulation. Inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.