Whale Oil to Whole Foods Part 2

Published on June 1, 2012

Artists exploring the ecological and economic history of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Region

“Whale Oil to Whole Foods” Part 2 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Agroforestry Resource Center (ARC) in Acra, N.Y. features siteworks by seven artists in the Siuslaw Model Forest and artwork  indoors at the ARC gallery. On view through August 31, this exhibition explores the human relationship to nature as it is expressed in our backyards, on the roads, through local industry and as a place of spiritual renewal. ARC gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays Noon to 4 p.m. (518-622-9820). The Siuslaw Model Forest is open seven days/week, dawn to dusk. 

“Stargazer,” pigmented ink on paper by Portia Munson.

In choosing work for these locations, curators Christy Rupp and Fawn Potash looked for projects that harmonized with the ongoing educational goals of the NYC Watershed Model Forest program. More than 75% of the nearly 2,000 square mile watershed is forested, with the majority of these lands privately owned.  The watershed forests exemplify the urban-rural interface – not only are they considered a preferred open space land use for water quality protection, but they also represent a working landscape that supports a viable local economy.

These Eco Art works address issues of human impact on the forest. Artists’ commissioned works examine the extinction of bird species and the opportunistic birds that have reoccupied a niche in the area (Brian Collier); provide a look at forest mushrooms and their valuable contribution to habitat (Matt Bua), present a living painting with forest soils and dynamic living bacteria (Jenifer Wightman); highlight the historic industry of  local brick factories, originating from the soil and returned now to the earth by time and entropy ( Kirsten Bates); feature forest insects and their nocturnal behavior (James Brady), and examine the role of our roads in creating hazardous corridors for woodland animals (Portia Munson) .

The Cornell Cooperative Extension gallery, located across the street at 6055 State Route 23, is presenting painting, sculpture and photography by nine artists, including Nancy Azara, Allen Bryan, Tasha Depp, Margarete DeSoleil, Jared Handelsman, Suzanne Proulx, Gowri Savoor and Jeri Zempel. Much of this work will feature trees as a theme.

“Six Red Leaves with Hands,” rubbings & collage, wax pastel, paint, pencil on mylar
by Nancy Azara.

Also of interest are other earth inspired  exhibits regionally: “Dear Mother Nature,” the Hudson ValleyArtists 2012 exhibit at the Dorsky Museum curated by Linda Weintraub, and “Beautiful Garbage” at the Kleinert- James Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, curated by Portia Munson. And coming in August, watch for “A Rising Tide; Imagining a Warmer Climate in the Hudson Valley”, a sculpture festival addressing the ecology of the Hudson River, sponsored by the Athens Cultural Center (August 11 to Oct. 21, 2012).