SUNDAY AUGUST 6, 2017 6-8 "BIOPHILIA" with THE FUND FOR WILD NATURE
SARGENT GALLERY'S ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL SHOW - AUGUST 6 - 17, 2017
BIOPHILIA: the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
Gail Boyajian, Jim Brandenburg, Ruth Kirchmeier, Phil Lichtenhan, Barbara Norfleet, Joel Sartore, and Gin Stone
The Fund for Wild Nature, known for "investing in feisty grassroots action since 1982," will be the featured nonprofit at Sargent Gallery's latest exhibit in Aquinnah.
Based out West, the Fund for Wild Nature is looking forward to connecting with environmentalists and nonprofits with the aim to help fund conservation projects here on Martha's Vineyard. The Fund for Wild Nature - FWN - provides grants to small groups who get things done. Their Board of Directors is comprised of lifelong environmental activists who know which steps are needed to protect and restore species and habitat, and which strategies and tactics will work. Donations are directed to where they are most needed. We hope our guests and colleagues will consider supporting the Fund for Wild Nature's important work, and invest in wild nature by donating to them at the show.
FWN Board member Tracy Davids will speak at the reception.
Tracy Davids, is the former Executive Director of Wild South, a non-profit organization working to inspire and empower citizens to protect and restore the native ecosystems of the Southeast. She is currently a consultant to other non-profit organizations. A graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Tracy has been an ardent advocate for the permanent protection of our federal public lands, endangered species, and ecological footprint reduction for 15 years. Her experience also includes the practice of civil law in Boston and volunteer board service for several local, regional, and national conservation organizations. Tracy lives in a solar powered home in Asheville, NC and spends her free time gardening, hiking, backpacking, and exploring the wilds of our great National Forests/Parks. Tracey also works as the Southeast Program Coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife.
This is an opportunity to support and learn about this dynamic environmental organization, and be a part of the environmental movement through art, ideas, and action.
Gail Boyajian is based in Cambridge, MA. She received her BFA from Tufts University, Medford, MA, and her Masters in Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (1976). Boyajian has won numerous awards and grants for her artwork, and is in several museums and collections. She has taught at several schools, most recently Phillips Academy, Andover MA.
“I worked as an architect in offices in Boston and New York for 17 years. During that time my specialty became environmental graphics and exhibition design. I also have a strong interest in sustainability in design and the opportunities and obligations that this presents to contemporary practice. I believe strongly in the potential through innovative design for a more sustainable future. I spend my summers in a house in Vermont that I designed that is powered by photovoltaics and includes other renewable energy principles. I am also a committed painter. My work is exhibited in New England and New York. Through painting I am able to connect my passion for architecture with my love of the natural world, art history, and the present.” Boyajian's detailed paintings and sculpture feature birds, history and environmental themes including climate change and humankind’s dominion over nature.
Jim Brandenburg, a Minnesota native, traveled the globe as a photographer with National Geographic magazine for over three decades. He has done assignment work and has been published in numerous national and international publications including the New York Times, Life, Time, Audubon, Smithsonian, Natural History, GEO, Modern Maturity, BBC Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife, and Outside.
Over the course of his long career, Brandenburg has received a multitude of prestigious national and international honors for his work. The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) twice named him Magazine Photographer of the Year for his National Geographic magazine work. He was named Kodak Wildlife Photographer of the Year by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum–London, and was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA). Brandenburg was a Hasselblad Master in 2002, a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens in 2001, and Canon Explorer of Light 2005-08.
Brandenburg was the recipient of the World Achievement Award from the United Nations Environmental Program in Stockholm, Sweden, in recognition of his using nature photography to raise public awareness for the environment. He was recently awarded with an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, by the University of Minnesota, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in cultural affairs, in public service, or in a field of knowledge and scholarship. Brandenburg has published many bestsellers including Chased by the Light, Looking for the Summer, Brother Wolf, White Wolf, and Minnesota Images of Home. He has also published four young adult books: To the Top of the World, Scruffy, An American Safari, and Sand and Fog. A National Geographic book, Face to Face With Wolves, featuring the work of Jim and Judy Brandenburg, was released in 2008.
Ruth Kirchmeier came to the Vineyard in 1988. She states it was “the beginning of a new life.” It was then she found her artistic calling with her intricate and distinctive woodcuts. Ruth joyfully describes this painstakingly slow and exacting process of woodcutting, “You have to take away what you don’t want printed and leave what you want to be part of the image.” She carves four surfaces, one for the image, and the others to apply as many as 100 colors. “It’s months of work, and I think, ‘What if this doesn’t work?’ But sometimes I step back and look at what I’ve done and think, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’ve done that.’”
Ruth began her career in New York City. Ruth attended Pratt Institute, one of the leading art schools in the country. After two years at Pratt, she won acceptance to New York’s The Cooper Union, one of the most selective full-scholarship schools in the United States for fine arts, architecture, and engineering.
Phil Lichtenhan constructs found metal bird nests using as much variety in his found objects as birds do in their own search and select process – although Phil Lichtenhan selects items such as ancient fencing, barbed wire and metal mesh to create his elegant, earthy pieces that can be hung on a wall or displayed on a table. “I find my nest materials everywhere,” the artist notes: “Along the roadsides, railroads, and alleyways, in the city or out in the desert are the discards of our world.” Each metal’s natural aged patina stands in striking contrast to the delicate high-fired ceramic eggs firmly affixed in every nest.
The early talents of Lichtenhan led him to attend Northern Arizona University where he immersed himself in art study on his way to an extended degree in art education. He studied printmaking at the University of Arizona, exploring intaglio viscosity relief collagraphs, a highly technical process that Lichtenhan pushed to newly expressive levels; an MFA in printmaking from U of A followed. Lichtenhan spent decades sharing his skills through teaching, first at a high school, then a boarding school, before years at another high school. He loved the teaching process and his experiences allowed him to dabble in acting and stage design; he directed the Avery Art Gallery while at the private Verde Valley School, bringing in shows from across the nation, and he led field trips to the Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni people, developing valuable relationships along the way. All the while Lichtenhan continued to make art and perfect his artistry. Since roughly 1990 he has been painting landscapes en plein air or from sketches and photographs taken on frequent hikes; he has studied the figure, producing not only literal interpretations but also expressive abstractions. In addition to his bird nests, Lichtenhan produces dimensional drawings from found materials. His nests, from small to large or tall, from uniform to motley in shape, capture in their skillful construction and compelling compositions every aspect of this gifted artist’s rich artistic past.
Lichtenhan’s work can be found throughout the United States in both public and private collections including the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Arizona State University Museum of Art, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Shemer Art Center, Bradley University Museum of Art, Norwest Bank, Arizona Commerce Bank, and the Ansel Adams estate.
Barbara Norfleet is a seasonal island resident, with a home in Chilmark, when she is not on Martha’s Vineyard she lives in Cambridge. Ms. Norfleet received her Ph.D. in social relations in psychology from Harvard in 1951; she was one of only three women to earn a Ph.D. that year in any of the university’s departments. After teaching for 10 years, Ms. Norfleet took an Intro to Photography course at age 45, which changed the direction of her life. Eventually, Ms. Norfleet became a photographer and curator at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She can be credited with designing and teaching the first studio course mixing sociology, anthropology, and photography, which was a surprise hit after the politically turbulent late ’60s.
Ms. Norfleet has published six books of her own work, which include “All the Right People,” “The Illusion of Orderly Progress,” “Landscape of the Cold War,” and “Manscape with Beasts.” Her 13 other books utilize images from her curated collection, now housed at Harvard’s Fogg Museum.
Ms. Norfleet’s own photos were first exhibited in 1979, but they have proved timeless. Just last year, her work was included in three exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. She is represented in the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. That’s just to name a few, not to mention over 250 private collections which house her work.
In her series, Manscape with Beasts, Norfleet lured wild and domesticated animals to outdoor settings carefully arranged with objects, surprising them at night with her camera's flash. In these intensely colorful photographs, nature meets civilization in bizarre confrontations. Norfleet’s “Swamp Series” illuminates the symmetry of the natural world and the reflectivity of light. All prints are cibachrome, an alternative analog photographic process that is today, almost obsolete.
Joel Sartore, resident of Lincoln, Nebraska, is an award-winning photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic fellow, and regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. His hallmarks are a sense of humor and a Midwestern work ethic.
Joel specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes around the world. He is the founder of the Photo Ark, a 25-year documentary project to save species and habitat.
“It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity,” he says. “When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”
In addition to National Geographic, Joel contributes to Audubon, Geo, the New York Times, and Smithsonian. He has several books, including Photo Ark: A World Worth Saving, RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, and Photographing Your Family. He and his work have been the subject of many national broadcasts, including National Geographic’s Explorer, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition and Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and the Today Show. He is also a contributor on CBS Sunday Morning and a lecturer for the Great Courses series.
Gin Stone, an ardent environmentalist, moved to Cape Cod from New York City and currently utilizes retired local commercial longline fishing gear; cutting, hand dying and re-piecing it to create her work. Humane Taxidermy and Creatures is a body of work comprising three-dimensional full size taxidermy pieces created from the gear and line. Themes of portent and oddity frequent her work.
Gin’s work has most recently been shown in Tribeca at The Untitled Space, at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, the National Prize Show (two years in a row) hosted by the Cambridge Art Association, The New England Collective VII Seventh Annual Juried Exhibition in SoWa and a major multimedia installation at the Ocean Alliance in Gloucester in association with Trident Gallery.
Press Release written by Anastasia Sargent, August 2017