Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tree exhibition grows at The Center

‘Beam, Board, Breath: An Investigation of Trees’ is inspired by wood

Express Staff Writer

“Untitled,” 2009, by William Smith. Charcoal drawing at The Sun Valley Center for the Arts, courtesy Schmidt Dean Gallery in Pennsylvania.

When Sun Valley Center for the Arts' Artistic Director Kristin Poole saw Jason Middlebrook's work at Art Basel Miami four years ago, she was inspired to create a show on trees.

"I began to notice more and more artists who were making work about trees, but not just about their beauty or variety," Poole said. "They were using trees as a way to explore different aspects of our lives and how we interact, for better or worse, with our environment."

"Beam, Board, Breath: An Investigation of Trees" will open at The Center in Ketchum on Friday, July 9, and will feature artwork by six contemporary artists. The show will continue through Sept. 3.

The show will feature work by Paul Bergeron, comprised of a group of paintings of trees that sometimes include human figures, done for a graduate project. Artist Jason Middlebrook paints planks of wood with geometric patterns and leans them against the wall. Similar to snowboards or skateboards, the polished planks are painted with bright, unnatural colors that highlight the contrast between the natural and the artificial.

With their gorgeous surfaces and abstracted images, William Smith's charcoal drawings are more about sensation and mood than about trees or forests. Joseph Smolinski contributes a number of finely wrought ink, graphite, and watercolor paintings. Two of his paintings include pine beetles with oil company logos on their bodies, made specifically for The Center's show.

Jennifer Steinkamp's animated projection of a tree, named Miss Znerold in honor of a first-grade teacher who admired her sponge-painted trees, looks like a tree and moves like a tree but is strangely colored and clearly an example of what the artist calls "fake nature." Mary Temple is painting a very subtle, dappled pattern of trees on the interior walls of The Center's project room as if sunlight and shadow are coming through a window.

In addition, internationally known artist Patrick Dougherty will create a monumental, site-specific installation at the site of The Center's future home at Second Avenue across from the Ketchum post office. Dougherty will speak about his work on Wednesday, July 14, at 5:30 p.m. at The Center in Ketchum. His talk is free and open to the public.

The Center will have a free exhibition tour at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, and Thursday, Aug. 19, and at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27. The Center Gallery will also be open until 8 p.m. for Gallery Walk on Friday, Aug. 6, and Friday, Sept. 3. For details call 726-9491.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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