Nature: Highlights from the Episode

NATURE: Highlights from the Episode
March 18 – May 13, 2017

“I try to translate this environment for other people to enjoy and understand.”
-Mary Merkel-Hess

The artists featured in this exhibition challenge viewers to reassess our relationship to the natural world and question whether or not we have been positive custodians of the landscape in which we live. Fiber artist Mary Merkel-Hess, woodcarver Michelle Holzapfel, book artist Catherine Alice Michaelis, and glass artist Preston Singletary create artworks that emanate from their passion about the natural world. In their choice of raw materials of wood, glass, and fiber as well as new materials, the artists are part of the important on-going conversation about the future of this planet.

This exhibition celebrates the American landscape from Iowa’s sea of grain, to the verdant woods of rural Vermont, to the rugged Pacific Northwest coast, to the hand-planted gardens that provide both food and inspiration to our craft artists. Throughout history, the colors, textures, shapes, as well as scents and tastes of the physical world have inspired artists to produce objects of astonishing power. By emphasizing the profound connection between art and society, NATURE continues a hallmark of Craft in America: positioning artists as participants in larger global concerns while at the same time honoring them as pure visionaries.

NATURE makes an important return to the Back-to-the Earth Movement of the late Sixties when a group of dedicated Americans decided to forgo many of the material aspects of our culture to celebrate and preserve the natural world. That generation made significant contributions to the arts, particularly the crafts. In these works you will find both a sense of discovery and a search for solutions to preserving the majesty of the natural world.