Critical Messages: Exhibition UPDATE by guest blogger Deanna Pendell

Twenty-six contemporary Northwest artists respond to environmental concerns in Critical Messages, curated by Sarah Clark-Langager. Familiar leaders in environmental art, such as Buster Simpson and Chris Jordan, join with emerging artists in Clark-Langager’s invitational exhibit in the Western Gallery at Western Washington University (Bellingham); the exhibit will also travel to the Hallie Ford Museum in Willamette, Oregon, and the Boise Art Museum in Idaho.

Most of the work takes a light touch to the issues, using beauty or even humor to drive home the poignant messages. American Romantic landscape traditions haunt the paintings, prints, and photographs, as fine craftsmanship clashes ironically with subject matter.

The sculptural works are more inquisitive, particularly John Grade’s “Collector." The elegant forms were anchored in seawater for 16 months to grow harvestable oysters and seaweed, then bolted to the front-end of a truck and driven for a thousand miles, then mounted for birds to pick clean.

Vaughn Bell’s “P
ersonal Biospheres,” (wearable ecosystems for one person), Karen Rudd’s “Last Stand” (enormous tree stumps made from cardboard), and Susan Robb’s “Signal Transduction” (electronics which mimic the communications used by plants) are also highlights from this astute survey of works.

Submitted by guest blogger Deanna Pindell who makes ecologically-focused installations and public art. Portfolio and daily eco-art postings at: www.facebook.com