DELAWARE, Ohio – From photographs of beautiful, barren glaciers to canvases bursting with bright, pollution-based pigments, the latest exhibitions at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum feature artists who make environmentally conscious art.
The exhibitions are “A Portrait of Ice,” featuring photographs of glaciers by acclaimed New York City-based photographer Caleb Cain Marcus, and “Luminous,” featuring paintings and drawings by Athens, Ohio-based art professor John Sabraw.
The exhibits open Aug. 22 and will be on display through Oct. 6 at Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Highlighting the event will be Sept. 12 campus presentations by each artist.
Sabraw, an associate professor of art at Ohio University, will discuss his artwork at 3:15 p.m. in Room 121 of OWU’s Edgar Hall, 35 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. His presentation will be followed by a reception for both artists from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the nearby Ross Art Museum. Then at 7 p.m., Marcus will discuss “A Portrait of Ice” in Phillips Auditorium, 50 S. Henry St., Delaware. All events are free and open to the public.
Marcus’s presentation also kicks off Ohio Wesleyan’s 2013 Sagan National Colloquium, “Interdisciplinary Impacts of Climate Change.” Each year, the colloquium addresses an issue of global importance with a semester-long program of speakers, discussions, and events such as the Ross Art Museum displays. Learn more at http://snc.owu.edu.
In a related essay, also titled “A Portrait of Ice,” Marcus writes: “The Inuit elders say the melting of the ice is the land crying out in pain. Now we must listen.” And he tells Smithsonian Magazine writer Megan Gambino: “I feel very close to the earth or however one wants to term it. … Whether these [photographs] bring people closer to the environment or not, I don’t really know. I certainly think that if people were more connected to it, that they would act differently in their lives.”
The photographer has dedicated himself to the poetic search for the balance among city, nature, man, and the invisible. He also is the author of “The Silent Aftermath of Space,” an exploration of the “silent and haunting experience” of walking alone after dark in New York City.
As for Sabraw, he seeks to incorporate sustainable practices into his art studio wherever and whenever possible. This includes using reclaimed wood to frame paintings, old metal signs as canvases, and, yes, even paints made with pollution-based pigments culled from now-closed coal mines in southern Ohio.
For things that he can’t make sustainable, Sabraw seeks, at least, to make them “carbon neutral.” He purchases “carbon credits” to offset environmental damage from such carbon-dioxide-producing activities as using electricity. The credits support planting trees and similar earth-friendly acts.
When viewers see his brightly colored creations, Sabraw hopes they will “fall in love again with the beauty of the natural world.”
Ohio Wesleyan’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is wheelchair-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit http://ross.owu.edu for more information.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.