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Lake George, NY 12845

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5-person exhibition curated by Rebecca Smith.  
July 11 - August 14, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 11, 4 - 6 pm
This event is FREE and open to the public.
Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri 12 - 5 pm, Sat 12 - 4 pm.

Two special lectures will be presented in conjunction with this exhibition:

Thursday, July 16, 6 pm at the Lake George Land Conservancy in Bolton Landing:
Artist Diane Burko will describe her evolution from a long career as a painter and photographer of geological formations to an activist making art about climate change. Her talk will include an overview of that evolution along with exciting  glimpses into her expeditions to the Arctic Circle, Antarctica and Patagonia - all in her effort to bear witness to the melting of glaciers. She has worked with scientists internationally and will share her knowledge and passion with us. 
Thursday, July 23, 6pm at the Fund For Lake George in Lake George:
"Art and Water:  Jackie Brookner":  A talk about an environmental artist's work by Rebecca Smith.  Rebecca Smith will introduce us to the work of Jackie Brookner. A sculptor by training, Jackie Brookner has developed her practice over a long career to merge ecology and design.  She partners with designers, ecologists, other artists and communities to address the problem within the mesh of the physical, social and aesthetic.  Both lectures are free and open to the public.  Call (518) 668-2616 for more information.

Curator's Statement:

Climate Contemporary features five contemporary artists exploring this global, atmospheric phenomenon through their artistic practice. Each of these artists work with this theme in distinctly different ways: Jackie Brookner works collaboratively with communities to design and build beautiful ecological sites; Larry Brown’s paintings suggest geologically transformed landscapes penetrated by networks of underground scaffolding; Diane Burko documents climate change through photographs and paintings; Mike Glier straddles landscape and abstraction to record place, time and temperature; Rebecca Smith makes sculptures that concretize greenhouse gases, bringing the 'elephant' of global warming into the room.

It is difficult to understand something if you don’t know what it "looks like".  The artists in this exhibition show us, in a sense, what different aspects of climate change look like, and even what it looks like to do something about it. The heating of the atmosphere phenomenon has many aspects and can be daunting to comprehend,– even paralyzing. Getting our heads out of the sand and shaking off denial is a project.  Considering what can be done, what should be done, what one as an individual can do – another project.  These artists have each found a different way to use their knowledge, insight, skills and particular inclinations towards this common goal.

- Rebecca Smith

About the Artists: 
A sculptor by training, Jackie Brookner has developed her practice over a long career to merge ecology and design. Water is her focus.  She writes, “My work brings plant-based water remediation for parks, rivers and wetlands together with habitat restoration, landscape sculpture, and active community collaboration”.  In Fargo, a recent and ongoing work in that small North Dakotan city, Brookner works with one of the most common and immediate symptoms of global warming – storm water runoff.  She partners with designers, ecologists, other artists and communities to address the problem within the mesh of the physical, social and aesthetic. What would have been a wastewater pit is becoming a graceful water catchment for storm water surrounded by native grasses and engineered so that it has become a source for clean water.  This is an aesthetic that integrates everyday social life and ecology.  You can learn more about Jackie Brookner and her work at www.jackiebrookner.com.

Larry Brown deals with themes of science and universality.  His new work is a continuation of his long term interest in the fundamental interactions of science and nature.  He says: “While earlier concerns were informed by a narrative based in physics, chemistry and astronomy, these most recent pieces have evolved towards a dialogue framed within a geological and ecological context.  This evolution has recently focused on the suggestion of dynamic situations and/or events which seem emphatically urgent, potentially dangerous and, even now, possibly irreversible.”  These paintings call to mind effects of fracking, mining, a scarred landscape punctured with underground tunnels and pipes, and the constant tension between human actions, and influence, on the natural world.  Larry Brown is highly regarded as both a long-time established New York painter as well as faculty member of Cooper Union. You can learn more about his work at www.larrybrownstudio.com.

Diane Burko is an artist with a deep, ongoing interest in geology that has evolved into a focus on climate change. She has traveled to Antarctica, Iceland, and similar regions in order to document in photographs the advancing glacial ice loss occurring worldwide.  Warming weather trends, rising sea water, ice cores and retreating glaciers are considered the most scientifically reliable indicators of climate change.  Burko also makes paintings of glaciers, morasses and ice sheets that tell the story in a way that photographs cannot by showing boundaries of ice retreating over time. You can learn more about Diane Burko and her work at www.dianeburko.com.

In his  "Line" series, Mike Glier plotted a trajectory for his painting project: “a year long trip along the lines of longitude which begins in the Arctic Circle, runs through my studio in upstate New York and continues to the equator” [p. 5, Introduction by Glier, Along a Long Line, Hard Press Editions, 2009] .  Glier worked as a plein air painter in the 19th century French tradition, painting what he observed from nature, but in a contemporary language informed by abstraction.  He embedded each painting in time and space by noting date, town, latitude, longitude and temperature.  This crucial reference to the conditions of time, location and weather makes it impossible not to know that physical conditions produce particular phenomena; that is, weather changes everything, and makes our world what it is. You can learn more about Mike Glier and his work at www.mikeglier.com.

Rebecca Smith's series of "molecule sculptures" (Molecule Groups I and II; CO2, CH4 and N2O, 2014) make use of the chemical notations for the three most important greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide). Smith writes: “The sculptures communicate the discipline of science and the finality of the laws of nature.  The five sculptures represent greenhouse gas molecules, each composed of one or more shapes cut from honeycomb materials sandwiched between 2 aluminum sheets. Chemical ‘pictograms’ of molecular compounds are intended to represent actual 3-D entities (gases). The cut-outs are balanced on plumbing pipe attached to the wall, each capped off with a natural gas valve.  I am trying to facilitate the thinking about greenhouse gases by making them ‘present’, along with their real-life enablers, the pipe and the valve.  I am asking to shut off the valve.”  You can learn more about Rebecca Smith and her work at www.rebeccasmithstudio.com.

This exhibition is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. The Courthouse Gallery hours during exhibitions are Tuesday through Friday 12 – 5 pm, Saturday 12 – 4 pm, and all other times by appointment. The Courthouse Gallery is located at the side entrance of the Old County Courthouse, corner of Canada and Lower Amherst Streets, Lake George, NY.

Climate Contemporary in the Press:
Lake George Mirror
Albany Times Union

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