Idaho artists portray climate change – the Argonaut
Artists often find ways to incorporate current events, important issues, and personal passions into their work in order to express ideas and opinions. Moscow’s art scene is no exception, as local creators share their thoughts on climate change, a hot topic that is becoming more prevalent in media coverage, entertainment, and culture over time.
According to their website, Moscow Contemporary is “a new arts and education non-profit showcasing the best in contemporary art and artistic educational services to surrounding communities in Moscow, Idaho.
This organization was “formed by the fundamental belief that the arts fundamentally express our common humanity and generate new perspectives to build a better future”, as described in their mission statement.
Moscow Contemporary offers exhibitions that present the work of local, regional, national and international artists with the aim of including a diversity of perspectives that reflect the richness of the world.
These works include “Facing the Inferno”, an exhibition of animal photographs by Kari Greer which will be on display from November 19 of this year to January 22, 2022.
Greer is a photographer for the Boise, Idaho-based National Interagency Fire Center specializing in wildfire photography and editorial photojournalism, according to his biography of Moscow Contemporary. Her interest in wildfire photography also began in college, when she worked on a Forest Service fire crew in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest in Washington.
His gallery, “Facing the Inferno”, seeks to shed light on the fact that forest fires have become increasingly threatening to our environment and our communities nationally and even globally.
“The increasing length and severity of the fire season makes this project timely and important,” says the gallery description. “Scientists understand what it means to live in a fire environment, including when to suppress, contain or let fires burn. The goal of this project is to help propel an even broader understanding and public conversation of this volatile dynamic. ”
In addition, Moscow Contemporary will present “Sap in their Veins”, an exhibition of photographs and oral history by David Paul Bayles which does not yet have an exhibition date.
According to his biography, Bayles “focuses on landscapes where the needs of forests and human activities often collide, sometimes coexist and sometimes find harmony. Some of his projects use a documentary approach while others use a more contemporary artistic practice.
He has a personal commitment to the environment and believes that his dual perspective of lumberjack and environmentalist adds an authentic and unique approach to his photographic projects.
Bayle considers this exhibition relevant and important because the photograph portrays current divisions in our culture, hopefully resolved by the power of stories that reflect our common humanity to help bridge those divisions.
This exhibit details the ‘Spotted Owl Wars’, a conflict in which’ rural logging communities fought to protect their often multigenerational way of life, and urban environmentalists fought to stop the logging of all old timber. and the practice of clear cutting ”, according to the description of the gallery.
This gallery tackles multiple perspectives of environmental sustainability, as well as personal traditions and livelihoods, in stark contrast to Greer’s strong preservation perspective achieved in “Facing the Inferno”.
An excerpt from one of the oral history sections of the exhibition personalizes this point of view.
“Loggers are very concerned about the woods and the environment. We make a living from it and love the woods and wood in such a deep way that I doubt I can ever describe it to you or anyone, ”the text reads. “It is a feeling I get when I am in the woods and which can only be described as close to a deep religious experience. I feel so close to my maker when I am in the woods and the very life of the wood seems to inhabit my peace and presence.
Beyond the photo exhibitions on forest fires or logging with Moscow Contemporary, the artists also engage in environmental commentary through the Prichard Gallery.
According to their information page, Prichard is “dedicated to giving artists freedom and supporting the need to realize their vision of what an exhibition of their work should be.” (They) believe that by nurturing the artist’s presentation aspirations, the best possible experience is created for (their) many audiences.
The most recent gallery exhibited at Prichard was “Palouse Plein Air”, an annual painting competition held each year in September. The event is organized by the Moscow Arts Commission and hosted by Moscow Contemporary. This year’s theme for the competition focused on artists’ impressions of the Palouse, the hills and landscapes familiar to Idahoans and Eastern Washingtonians.
Although this year’s show is over, the results and the winners can be viewed on their website. Winning artistic themes included sunsets, hay waves, wanderers, mountains, botanical gardens and other must-sees in the Palouse.
“Historic Moscow, Idaho, and beautiful Palouse are the perfect destination for outdoor artists, and the annual Palouse Plein Air painting event connects artists to the region’s landscape and artistic culture,” according to their information page. “French for” plein air “, the expression” plein air “describes the act of painting outdoors. The outdoor experience on the Palouse is particularly rich, as its hills, rivers, mountains, fields, farms and houses tell the long history of the landscape.
While all of the artists tell their own story and perspective of climate change and the unknowns the situation presents, a unifying theme throughout the work is the love and appreciation for the world we have and desperately want to preserve.
Whether through photography, oral history, or the use of countless physical mediums, artists are a strong voice in our communities with valuable perspectives and work that desire to be heard.
Katarina Hockema can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @kat_hockema