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The Green Show

Artlink show explores the many ways to be environmentally-friendly

By Michael Summers

michael_summers@fortwaynereader.com

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-06-18


As the old saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s material for artistic expression. Or something like that. But that’s one of the ideas behind a great deal of the work at Artlink’s Green Show, which runs at the downtown gallery through July 7.

“Our theory of ‘green’ was very broad, because on one hand, it’s ‘green’ to re-purpose things instead of just throwing them in the trash,” says Artlink Direcotr Deb Washler. “So the show has a lot of pieces that use repurposed or re-used material. On the other hand, there are other pieces that just touch on environmental themes. So it’s a mixture.”

The result is a very diverse show which includes everything from photography to installation pieces (Josef Zimmerman and Mike Shifflett’s “We want to turn your outside in or else…” had to be created in the gallery) to sculpture and jewelry.

The resourcefulness and the creativity of the artists is impressive. Sayaka Ganz created several large sculptures of birds — including a whole flock of penguins — using reclaimed plastic objects. “The birds are all created from plastic objects like combs, spatulas, baskets, things like that,” says Washler. “ No glue was used to connect the plastic bits together. The penguins are connected by coat hanger wire, and there’s another connected using an old string of Christmas lights.”

Another artist, Ross Burwell, created his pieces on old, used game boards. Then there’s jewelry — a set of ear-rings and a necklace — created using a vintage sterling candy dish.

MaryAnn Halsey contributed “The Clothesline Ban?” a mixed-media piece that not only looks remarkable but also serves as a sort of commentary, having fun with the fact that in certain neighborhoods, there’s a clothesline ban, because they’re unsightly.

Some artists simply chose to address environmental themes in their work, with images of what happens when civilization, or industry, or commerce, encroach on the natural world. There’s a pretty disturbing photo by Cathie Rowand of downtown Fort Wayne on an ozone alert day during the summer, with a brown-tinged haze lingering over the cityscape; it recalls those pictures we’ve all seen of a smog-shrouded Los Angeles.

And then others, of course, are just evocative pieces about nature, like Seder Burns “Honeybees” prints and Willer Hoagland’s painting “Dinner.”

“It’s a pretty wide range of work,” says Washler of the show. “We left the theme very broad, and got a great response.”

The Green Show runs through July 7 at Artlink
437 East Berry Street
Phone (260) 424-7195
Hours: Tues - Sat 12-5 pm, Sun -5 pm, Fri & Sat 6-9 pm.

www.artlinkfw.com

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