environmentally speaking at the janice charach gallery

environmentally speaking at the janice charach gallery

*podcast note: due to covid, Laura and I were distanced so her voice will need some volume

The Janice Charach Gallery presents Environmentally Speaking, an exhibition that brings together the work of fourteen artists who share a sense of stewardship toward our environment. This show is intended to deliver an empowering and hopeful approach to the challenging topic of climate change. It features works in a variety of mediums while offering ways we might connect with and through nature to begin to heal.

Laura Earle Pollinators paper, watercolor, gilding, naturally dyed angora wool, steel cable. The apex is gilded birch

In the center of the gallery, cascading down from the 2-story ceiling, is Pollinators. Delicate paper butterflies and bees on fine steel cables float and shimmer. As Earle describes in the podcast, their color at the top is vibrant only to despondently descend into a colorless, lifeless circle at the foot of this installation; beautifully heartbreaking.

Nancy Cohen Between handmade paper, paper pulp, ink and kozo 21x60. Photo Jennifer Patselas

The striking difference in viewing work in person is clear in Nancy Cohen’s Between. This piece is far more delicate than perceived in this digital image. The texture is so much more pronounced, it seems Cohen weaved the actual reeds and grasses directly into the piece. Its filmy feel creates a definite sense of the floodplains and their precarious state her work is addressing.

Leslie Sobel Interwoven Ecologies mixed media 31x47. Photo Jennifer Patselas

In a similar experience with Leslie Sobel’s Interwoven Ecologies, strips of paper, with images of watershed residents from fungi to whales, bend and project forward. Materials like staples, pins, buttons and thread add to this illustration on how we are all bound together in a shared existence. Both Sobel and Cohen explore threats to aquatic ecosystems where incorporating humans into these networks, rather than viewing ourselves separately, is vital in order to preserve them.

Kate Dodd Migrants repurposed envelopes with collage and graphite

Kate Dodd’s Migrants employs repurposed envelopes to send her message on the impact climate change is having on our winged companions. Varieties of birds are brightly colored but trapped in a windowed cage. As their ghosts tumble to the bottom of the piece, is Dodd foretelling a future where at some point these species will only exist in captivity?

This exhibition’s work is surprisingly light and airy in contrast to such a heavy subject. Accustomed to doomsday scenarios in an attempt to scare us into action, this is a noticeably different approach. This show reminds us of what we’re doing this all for. It’s more than mere existence. Our mission is to save not only ourselves and the beings we share our home with, but the truly miraculous, stunning beauty that is Earth. 

Participating artists: Nancy Cohen; Justin Cox; Kate Dodd; Laura Earle; Tracey Easthope; Elizabeth Barick Fall; Susan Hoffman Fishman; Gina Rafaella Furnari; Olivia Guterson; Cynthia LaMaide; Trisha Schultz; Leslie Sobel; Laurie Wechter, and Jana Dietsch Wingels. 

On view through March 3rd at Janice Charach Gallery in the Jewish Community Center, 6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield

*images are mine unless otherwise noted

**special thank you to Wren Hack of Hazon for her generous donation to this newsletter.


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Micro artist talk from a visual arts exhibition currently on view in the Detroit Metro Area
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