Cassera Gallery Stanwood Presents:
Sept 29- Oct 27
Opening Reception: Friday Sept 29, 5pm
EMBRACE OUR COMMON HUMANITY
Hong Kong is a microcosm of Asia and of the world. I found myself immersed in a broad diversity of cultures and at the crossroads of Asia. I met individuals from many cultures and walks of life. Though they differed in many ways, what really inspired me was the many qualities we shared, our intrinsic common humanity.I started to paint portraits. Patrons at the local wet markets; farmers in rural Tibet; Aeta hill-tribe members in the Philippines; wedding guests in India; crafts people in Thailand; neighbors at our villa in Hanoi; monks and nuns in Ladakh. Later expanding to include, among others, powwow participants in North America; farmers in the Northwest; Maasai herdsmen; and Mt. Kilimanjaro guides. The portraits now number in the hundreds.Upon my return to the States, the work was exhibited at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum. The theme was “Faces of Reality.” It was the beginning of an effort to share the experience, to create more openness to diversity, to tear down the stereotypes, and to introduce all of us to our global neighbors.
As I traveled doing portraits I experienced and lived in diverse environments. I saw the depth of nature’s beauty, our dependence on the natural environment, the growing fragility of that environment, and the pressure being exerted on it by our exponential growth in population. Addressing these issues and depicting the environment in my work has been a natural progression. Especially since the changes we are experiencing in the environment impact all global cultures, and severely threaten many of them. Culture and environment are critically and inextricably linked. We are all in this together.
Initially my environmental images were driven by impressions of what I saw happening. Wildfires in the Northwest, near one of my studios, were pivotal in launching this work. There is hardly an environmental or climate issue that does not trigger a strong emotional reaction in me.
The work has evolved into a deep concern for our estrangement from, and neglect of, the natural world. We are experiencing a chaotic departure from relative environmental stability, rapidly diverging future scenarios, and existential threats to humanity and to all other species caught in the backdraft of our global impact. The expression of these dynamics is the inspiration for my current work.