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Thompson Art Gallery: Addressng Global Warming

Following closely on the heels of the release of a report from the National Climatic Data Center (NOAA) indicating that 2006 was the warmest year on record for the United States, comes “Sublime Climate—Addressing Global Warming,” an eclectic art exhibition of talented artists from around the world who use a variety of media to delve into the complexities and critical aspects of global warming. The three part series is showing at The Thompson Gallery at The Cambridge School of Weston (CSW) through June 9, 2008.

“The exhibition groups artists under the three distinct over-arching themes to facilitate a deeper understanding of the topics explored,” said Todd Bartel, gallery director. “The current exhibition includes artists who live locally and as far away as South Africa and Thailand.”

The first in the series: “Subliminal: Recognizing the Global Dilemma,” opened this past fall to coincide with the grand opening of the school’s 21,000 sq. ft. “green” building. “Alarm: Projecting Global Change,” is currently showing through March 14, and “Symbiosis—Grappling With Our Natural Resources,” will be on display from March 31 through June 9, 2008.

Artists involved in the current exhibition include: Karen Antonelli, Greg Blonder, Linda Bond, Christopher Cassidy, Sarah Cunningham, Jynx macTavish, Margaret Noble & Edyta Stepien, Paul Roux, Paul Stout, Sarah Sutro, Michelle Wilson and Joy Wulke, with a special “Global Yawning” project by Jay Critchley.

Three of these artists were present for a Gallery Talk on February 16.

Greg Blonder—Diploria, Mine Canary of the Ocean, 2007 (Galvanized steel frame, c) motion plastic tendrils, natural sunlight or theatrical lights, thermometer and foot-pedal controller):

“My pieces bring all four elements—earth, wind, fire and water—into contact with seemingly dead manufactured plastic, spawning a hybrid artificial life that reacts to the world and the viewer. This new form of technology inspired life consumes resources and can sense impending change, yet is a poor substitute for nature. The plastic is a sentinel and Greek chorus to the conversation on global climate change.”

Linda Bond, Smoke III (East Grand Forks, MN), 2001, Graphite on mulberry paper):

“Violent events worldwide, both natural and manmade, continue to inform my work. The hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and mudslides of 2005 were a curious parallel to the ongoing tragedies of war in the Middle East. Are these events solely natural disasters, the result of human activity or a mix of the two?”

Jay Crichtley, “Cars,” 2003: Digitally enhanced and appropriated covers of Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report, digital print:

“On May 3, 2003, all the national news magazines had near identical covers: a human face with a surgical mask and bold headline, SARS. I saw this as not only a symbol of the ecological arrogance we have created, but also, as yet another symbol of fear perpetuated on the public post-9/11. The mask to me symbolized a cover-up and silencing of the real problem: environmental disaster caused by our addiction to petroleum, particularly, the automobile.”

In the months of planning that took place in advance of the shows Bartel reached out to artists who explore issues and themes related to global climate change. Eighty-two artists applied from more than 12 states and a number of countries abroad to participate.

The Thompson Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art based in integrated disciplines and, in particular, the combined fields of art and science. From time to time, the gallery will showcase the works and talents of CSW students and a growing number of acclaimed alumni.

“With ‘Sublime Climate,’ we are particularly pleased to highlight such an immensely important subject. These works of art examine a universe of ways that global warming is threatening planet Earth. The works are also a call to action,” said Bartel.

The fall exhibition showcased a wide variety of media, from the Antarctica-based installation work of Xavier Cortada to a composite video made up of single frame images of the North Pole during summer months by artists Andrea Polli & Joe Gilmore. In addition, Texas-based artist Sally Packard’s “Harbinger” installation was exhibited in the Garthwaite Center’s installation gallery.

“The gallery is very much an extension of the school’s superb visual arts program that offers a curricula rich in opportunities for substantive artistic exploration in a variety of media, from drawing and painting to digital photography, Raku pottery and installation art,” said Jane Moulding, head of school. “The excellence of the program is underscored by the impressive number of CSW students who regularly win national Gold Key awards and attend some of the most prestigious art institutes and colleges in the country.”

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by appointment. For an opportunity to view the gallery during non-operating hours, obtain information about the exhibition schedule, or acquire information on submission requirements, contact Todd Bartel at (781) 398-8316 or by e-mail (thomosongallery@csw.org).

The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.