Curators Ana Gunther ’23 and Sawyer Gouldman ’23 presented the Eclectic Art Exhibit on Wednesday, December 8, congratulating the nineteen star artists whose works have contributed from the visual arts and poetry mediums to dance.
In their campus-wide call for applications, Gunther and Gouldman wrote that they “were looking for art that expresses the urgency of our climate crisis and the importance of solutions.” They asked, “As the future grows insistent, how can we direct our energy to art, activism and action to claim our future? “
Adopting the in-person format of the fall 2021 exhibit, the show featured three live performances.
Starting the evening with oral readings, Dylan Richmond ’24 recited a poem titled “Matricide” and K Zhan ’25 shared his poem “A Scream in Color, a Funeral in White”.
The poetry readings were followed by the very first dance performed on the steps of Roux Lantern. Tiffany Delgado ’23, a major in theater and dance (with government and legal studies), choreographed the inaugural piece, Human connection. In his artist statement, Delgado describes how people often speak in a dissociative state of climate change. Rather, it proposes that our treatment of the environment reflect our compassionate treatment of one another. Featuring subway sounds and melting glaciers, the dance highlighted “the beauty, love and joy we derive from human connection.”
After the live performances, the students dispersed to the first and second floors of the Center Roux to view the works of art on display and artist statements.
It was the second Earth exhibition, but the first to be held entirely in person. In the inaugural Earth exposure last May, student artists responded to the relationship between humans and the environment. Due to the circumstances, the show was presented and curated using a virtual format.
Bridget Spaeth, Academic Coordinator of the Department of Earth Sciences and Oceanography, structured the curatorial position as an opportunity for student employment in service of the department’s goals and values. “We wanted to advance science communication, interdisciplinary solutions and a climate conversation,” she said.
Gunther and Gouldman have been committed Conservatives for the past year. “It’s intimidating to constantly defend the Earth because it’s hard to reduce the work we have to do as a society to tackle climate change,” Gunther said, but “art is a powerful way to make people attentive “.
The show, by amplifying the work of the students, was an outlet for her, she added. “It is clear from the submissions we received that Bowdoin students think deeply about climate change and express themselves through their artistic medium of choice,” she said.
Gouldman said he was inspired by his studies in earth and ocean science and sculpture, “as well as the incredible works of art” he saw by his classmates. “The students at Bowdoin are all incredibly talented in their own ways, and we wanted to showcase their talents to solve one of the most pressing problems of our time.”
Instant sequences by Tor Parker ’21 featured photographs of the Androscoggin River corroded by the “failures” of the artist’s film processing as an imitative example of “how the chemicals and human errors that have altered these images of nature are linked to the reality of climate change “.
Goodbye May by Ben Norwood ’25 featured poetry that criticized failed and ineffective solutions to climate change. “Have we not become apostles of misery? the poem begins.
The eARTh exhibition was offered and supported by the Department of Earth Sciences and Oceanography, with special thanks to Academic Department Coordinator Bridget Spaeth.
Photos by Andrew Estey.