Common Ground

THE SPECIMEN DRAWER © 2013 by Susan Silas
THE SPECIMEN DRAWER © 2013 by Susan Silas

The University Galleries in Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters presents Common Ground: Artists in the Everglades at the Schmidt Center Gallery, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. The exhibition will open on Friday, Sept. 19 at 6:30pm and will be on view through Wednesday, Nov. 5. All events are free and open to the public.

“Common Ground” presents selected artists from Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE), a unique program that provides an extraordinary opportunity for artists to reside within the Everglades National Park. Organized by Donna Marxer, this unique program was started in 2001 after U.S. Congress passed the $8 billion Everglades Restoration Plan. The program brings professional artists to reside for one month within the park to create original works from their experience of living in our nation’s most environmentally endangered eco-system.  Jill Lavetsky and Sybille Welter, co-curators of “Common Ground” have selected a group of eight artists who have participated in AIRIE in the past few years.

The exhibition aims to provide an overview of the dynamic works that have been produced by a variety of artists from this distinctive residency. Miami-based sound artist Gustavo Matamoros presents “Bats & Insects” a sound-scape in the Schmidt Center Public Space in collaboration with Freddy Jouwayed, a Miami-based artist who designed the installation layout. The hidden acoustical signature of the architectural space articulates the work and provides passerby with the sounds of the natural world within the context of a man-made space.

New York and Tel Aviv artist Dana Levy presents her recent work including “Environmental Effects”, a short video filmed at night and redesigned to include psychedelic fragmented rainbow-inspired colors, illuminating the vegetation and electrifying the nightscape. In Levy’s work titled “Emerging from the Swamp” she stages a scene depicting sunken artifacts utilizing thrift store furniture.

Photographers Karen Glaser, Rebecca Reeves, Susan Silas, and Adam Nadel have distinctly different commentary of the Everglades.  Glaser, a recent transplant to Florida from Chicago, has been documenting the swamps from under the water, looking up to the land and sky. Her un-manipulated photographs allow the viewer an exclusive perspective of the unique and vulnerable environment of South Florida’s swamps. Silas (New York) presents selected images from “The Specimen Drawer.” Photographed from the South Florida Management Center, the stuffed birds are each tagged to identify its type and date back into the 1960s.  The artist writes that, “collectively they are a record of the upheavals and changes in management techniques that have beset the park for over a century.” Rebecca Reeves (New York) images of curtains placed within the context of the Everglades reflects a 17th-century Dutch tradition where it was customary to hide all mirrors, landscape paintings and portraits thus the soul of the deceased would not be tempted to stay on earth.  Her curtains serve as social fabrics, the familiar connectors to our increasingly unfamiliar landscape, the wilderness.  Adam Nadel (New York) presents works from his series “Getting the Water Right” a project about the ecology and people in the Greater Everglades Watershed.

Alice Raymond (California) plays with the conceptual meaning of Territory, Property and Terrain within maps, drawn and painted, and specifically to the borders that make-up the Everglades.

Painter Harumi Abe (Georgia) presents recent work from her series “134 days and 21 hours” wherein the artist explores the notions of home beyond its physicality and explores the emotional attachment to the idea of home while also probing her own relationship to her homeland, Japan.