Common Street Art is pleased to present work by Maine artists Barbara Sullivan and Juliet Karelsen in the exhibition Into the Forest: Flora, Fauna, Lichen, Moss on view from September 13 through October 28, 2017. Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, September 14 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. With special guest speakers at 6:00 p.m.: Kristen Case, Assistant Professor of English, University of Maine, Farmington; Steven Pane, Professor of Music, University of Maine, Farmington and Peter Pfeiffer, Independent Tree Farmer and Writer
This exhibition will explore the themes of our natural environment, preservation, conservation, and biological diversity. Central Maine is a region where residents have the potential to directly interact with the natural landscape through nature walks, birdwatching, hunting, and fishing, among other explorations—and the work of Barbara Sullivan and Juliet Karelsen offers a unique and candid artists’ perspective on our local environment.
Barbara Sullivan’s two-dimensional large scale drawings of the forest coupled with her whimsical fresco creations of birds and woodland creatures, reminds us of the bounty and diversity of the Maine landscape. Often our interactions with wildlife are fleeting, requiring steadfast patience, and a fair amount of serendipity. Barbara’s work provides us an opportunity to linger in our contemplation of the flora and fauna which surrounds us but may be less discernable in the bustle of our daily routine.
Juliet’s work, likewise, offers us moments of quiet contemplation and close-looking while creating an otherworldly atmosphere with elements that simultaneously harken to Maine’s vast geological underpinnings. Karelsen asks us to walk the liminal space between the natural and the unnatural—both worlds mystical and enchanting—one an emerging and evolutionary landscape and the other a built and cultivated environment.
Both Sullivan and Karelsen extend themselves through their adopted media—Sullivan’s fresco paintings evolve into seemingly animated sculptures that invite us into a secret, wooded landscape. Karelsen’s felted objects combine stitching, tapestry, embroidery to become a myriad of methods in which she creates her “geological pillows”. Through a combination of subject matter and media, both artists ask their audiences to participate in the captivating worlds they create—to consider our impact on the natural environment while we ask ourselves what their built narratives can teach us.