Highfield Hall & Gardens Museum announces the exhibition
SEAChange: Meditations on Sustainability, featuring over 100 works of art by four artists working in the encaustic medium.
The artists formed the Elemental Collective through which they engage in critical discourse and art practice addressing and raising awareness of current issues in society and the environment. Each artist makes use of organic forms and abstractions and is inspired by nature and its processes, such as earth altering heating, cooling, and pressure.
The exhibition is aimed at furthering the conversation on how to craft a new future; SEAChange presents a look at a future that is approaching a sea change that will immeasurably affect our way of life. Each artist focuses on elements of nature: biodiversity of plant species, soil health, environmental fragility, renewal and restoration, alternatives to plastics, ocean acidification, coral health, regeneration, and kelp reclamation. Elemental Collective employs art-based activism through the ancient medium of encaustic, using materials such as, oil, cold wax, silk, marble dust, metal leaf, and resin is an act of hope in the face of dark projections for the world.
SEAChange: Meditations in Sustainability features 107 works from monoprints to sculpture, filling galleries on the first and second floors of Highfield Hall.
“Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.” — Sioux Chief Yellow Lake, 1887
Claffey, Pat Gerkin, Donna Hamil Talman, Charyl Weissbach
writing on behalf of four artists whom I have had the pleasure of working with
recently, the Elemental Artist Collective, Debra Claffey, Pat Gerkin, Donna
Hamil Talman, and Charyl Weissbach. We recently hosted their work in our
campus gallery, the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery at Worcester State
University. Their exhibition, Crossroads:
Four Perspectives, was on view from Oct. 6-Nov. 14, 2019, and it was one of
our most successful shows in terms of attendance, aesthetics, and organization.
Their work exhibits the best aspects of what we look for in our gallery: strong
aesthetic content, compelling ideas, and a cohesive group of artists who adhere
to the highest professional standards.
work is semi-abstract, with great visual interest in the textures and surface.
Frequently, the abstract imagery is anchored in the suggestion of something
solid, tangible, and identifiable. I find the balance between the two
tendencies extremely engaging. Visitors to the gallery frequently remarked upon
their desire to engage with the work, examine the details closely, even among
those viewers who usually do not make a habit of attending art
exhibitions. Carefully chosen additional materials such as ground marble,
woodcut, oil, graphite, and paint greatly enriched the surfaces. The group also
used inventive hanging methods, projecting translucent paper from the wall or
exhibiting a single large work divided into sections. These hanging ideas were
intelligently chosen, not arbitrary, they made sense with the content of the
four artists are united by their concern for our survival on the planet in the
age of climate change. They have witnessed subtle but increasingly dramatic changes
in local and global ecological systems. Their work has been inspired by close
observation of the natural world and human impact on soils, corals, vegetation,
and our oceans. This close study of ecosystems has energized their work and
increased their sense of urgency. This strong idea-based content is another way
their work reached our viewers. We had many viewers comment on how their work
communicated a passionate concern for the environment, and audiences noted the
timeliness of the content. The strong aesthetic content drew the viewers in,
the content made them linger.
and Technical Issues
made my job as the gallery director easy. They understood workflow issues in
the gallery and voluntarily appointed one person as their first contact so that
I didn’t have to communicate everything to all four artists. They worked out a
preliminary layout of all the work themselves and submitted it in a timely
manner. At our end, we had a chance to review their proposed layout and then make
a few changes. Once the work was delivered, we had a few more suggestions in
the layout and hanging of the work, and they welcomed our input.
these artists were a delight. They consistently maintained the highest
technical standards, while their work remained innovative and aesthetically
engaging. They were totally professional in all their interactions with our
would be a pleasure to speak further about the artists. Please contact me at
Here’s a link to the press release from the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery at Worcester State University. Charyl, Donna, and I will be at the opening reception on October 10, 2019 from 5 to 7 p.m. We hope to see you there.
Debra Claffey, Pat Gerkin, Donna Hamil Talman & Charyl Weissbach will exhibit, “CrossRoads: 4 Perspectives” at the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery, located in the Ghosh Science and Technology Center in Worcester, Mass., from October 10 through November 14.
Please join us at the opening reception on October 10, from 5 – 7 p.m.