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Artistic Solutions to Environmental Problems: New SMCM Exhibition


January 9, 2012
Press Release #12-005

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  (St. Mary’s City, MD) January 9, 2012—Whether it is a floating island in a water treatment plant’s lagoon or a walking trail that absorbs stormwater runoff, a new exhibition coming to Boyden Galley at St. Mary’s College of Maryland Jan. 23- March 2 showcases artists’ plans to tackle environmental problems in public spaces. The show, “Remediate/Re-vision: Public Artists Engaging the Environment,” reflects settings as diverse as parks, waterfronts, water treatment facilities, and city roofs. The public is invited to a reception and presentation at 4:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at the gallery in the college’s Montgomery Hall. The Boyden Gallery is free and open to the public 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For directions and further information, see http://www.smcm.edu/boydengallery or call 240-895-4246.

All installations in the exhibition required the artist to engage outside the traditional studio setting. Altogether, 10 national artists are featured. Some examples:

 -          Jackie Brookner, "Veden Taika," Salo, Finland:  Three floating islands, built in the local water treatment plant's lagoon, function as a nesting site for birds and contain plants chosen to remove pollutants and sediments from the water.

 -          Lorna Jordan, "Terraced Cascade," Scottsdale, Arizona: An environmental artwork and theater garden allow harvested water to flow down a cascade, irrigating a mesquite habitat that offers shade and respite from the desert sun.

 -          Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Suzanne Lacy, and Yutaka Kobayashi, "Beneath Land & Water," Elkhorn City, Kentucky: A walking trail includes a native flora/fauna park that absorbs stormwater runoff to clean it before it enters the river.

 -          Matthew Mazzotta, "Park Spark Project," Cambridge, Massachusetts: An interactive urban intervention transforms dog waste into energy (methane) through a publicly fed methane digester.

 The exhibition is on loan from Wave Hill, (a public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River), where the exhibition originated in The Bronx, New York, in 2010. Speakers at the Jan. 30 presentation, "Artists as Environmental Catalysts: in Context and in Community," include Jennifer McGregor, Wave Hill director of arts, who also wrote the artist interviews in the exhibition catalogue, and artist Amara Geffen, whose Pennsylvania project  integrates land art and landscape design to address stormwater mitigation.

 A complementary regional exhibition can be seen at North End Gallery in Leonardtown entitled "Made in Maryland."

 "Remediate/Re-Vision" comes to St. Mary's College through support from the Maryland State Arts Council and the college's Environmental Studies Program.

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