Earth, Sky & In-between, is a collection of paintings, sculpture and jewelry. The artwork delves in to the subjects of global climate change, conscious and un-conscious connections to the earth and the significance of its materials and matter. This group of artists all connect with these issues, but portray them in their own unique styles. Individually they have their own stories to tell, but collectively form an ecology of earth conscious artists.
Life populates the space between the earth and the sky. Together, we work to drive the cycles of the climate and life that sustain our pale blue dot. James Mesplé approaches global climate change in his paintings by relating them to Greek Mythology and commenting on how the fives senses have been effected. Laura Lee Junge connects her abstracted style to the mind and becoming one with the earth. Robert Koppel views the earth and sky through dreams and tells a story through abstracted shapes and gestural painting. Alisa Winston has a personal connection to her materials, all of which are from places she has visited. This grouping of work defines current global issues we are confronted with on a daily basis.
Mesplé’s collection of paintings could be described as mythological narratives echoing themes of collapse and environmental harmony. These detailed paintings are full of symbolism that connects contemporary issues to ancient morals. To add an extra layer of meaning, Mesplé constructs his own mythos through imagery of manipulated stories and an array of different Chicago skylines, which is a recurring theme found in most of his work. In “Pan’s Garden, the Five Senses” he features the Chicago Spire, a once dramatic addition to the skyline of Chicago, but never ascended to the sky. He describes the Chicago Spire project as ” the one that got away.” In addition, he has constructed an imaginary high rise, which is inspired by newer architectural designs. In this piece Mesplé uses multiple techniques to express the five senses. First, in his mythological story, Zeus, Hera, and Bacchus are awakened by Pan’s use of sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight. Also, he references the senses by his imagery. The sounds of the flute and the smell of the flowers come wafting of the canvas. Mesplé describes this as, “how we experience the world until we make our exit.”
Laura Lee Junge
Junge’s body of work is where chaos and order coexist. She says, “my work resides in the in-between, a world that is greatly affected by the butterfly effect, where ‘small causes can have larger effects’.” This concept pertains to her process of creating her abstract paintings. Junge begins by letting the paint flow freely, but by manipulating the paint, the chaos is confined by her control. At that point, the pour becomes secondary to the design, which has a larger effect on the work. While Junge’s intention is to reflect and meditate, one can also reference the disorder and corruption that we see in our world today. The manipulated order reflects the way mankind is coming together to protect our planet.
Inspired by the visual poetry of the world he sees around him and ephemeral images from dreams, Koppel creates visual stories of earth, sky, water and time travel. Part of a two-year series, “Looking Through the Water” is derived from an abstracted Florida seascape where the emotions of the world lay beneath the surface of the water. He says his paintings “grow to tell stories like pages of a book.” Koppel uses the narrative of water as the connection point between the sky and earth as a way of portraying the ever-changing way in which others connect to the world.
Sculptor and Fine Jeweler, Winston is inspired by travel, the history of materials and the stories they tell. Traveling around the world to find her beads and materials, Winston finds great solace in learning about each stone or handmade bead she collects. In her quest for unique and historically intriguing materials, she has discovered the balancing act of nature-made materials coming from the “earth” and manmade impressions coming from the “in-between.” Both her jewelry and her sculpture, “Life is a Balancing Act,” celebrates just this. Without the in-between, these earth-made materials are nothing more than a rock or a piece of wood. It is up to people to transform these materials into something more beautiful.
This collection of artwork provokes thought as to how we adapt to our world today and how we proceed forward. We are in a time of environmental awareness have a goal of sustainability. Through exhibiting environmentally aware artwork, the gallery hopes to open the conversation to keeping our planet healthy and environmentally stable.