Art Beat: Photosynthesis II
Photosynthesis in plants creates the oxygen that supports life on our planet. At a time of climate crisis, photosynthesis has never been more important. How do we support it? What part does it play in our survival? In 2018, a group of Kalamazoo artists gathered to create an exhibit called “Photosynthesis I.” Seventeen artists have now gathered in 2023 for “Photosynthesis II,” a new exhibition of visual and literary arts illustrating our responsibility to treat the natural world with reverence and respect.
The exhibit was curated by artist and Ninth Wave Studio owner Linda Rzoska and arranged by Katie Mumby of the Richmond Visual Center of the Arts at Western Michigan University.
“I was listening to an interview with Dr. Robin Kimmerer about her book Braiding Sweetgrass,” Rzoska says. “She was talking about photosynthesis and how wonderful and magical it is. I thought about it, and because I love trees so much—you see trees a lot in my artwork—I thought this might be something I wanted to explore. And as I was exploring it, the information was getting larger and larger and more intriguing.”
Rzoska pulled in more local artists to add their own individual interpretations of the photosynthesis process. The collaborative result has been paintings, drawings, sculpture, and literary arts in a group exhibit.
“It is a really large exhibition, so there was a lot of consideration on the layout of the show and how it would feel and the uniqueness of the space coming from two directions with doors on either side,” Mumby says. “The pieces really work together in a unique way, with the artists working together over so many years. It’s culminated in a beautiful outcome.”
“The purpose of this exhibition is to give voice to concepts, truths, and decisions that touch us all on a daily basis,” says Rzoska. “We wanted to create a compelling reminder that we are all elementally tied to the world around us.”
The “Photosynthesis II” exhibit reception will be held on Friday, September 22, 2023, at 5 p.m. at the Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery at the Richmond Center for Visual Arts on Western Michigan University’s main campus. The exhibit continues through November 19, 2023. Participants include Lorrie Grainger Abdo, Melody Allen, Susan Badger, Justin Bernhardt, Maryellen Hains, Anna Z. ILL, Alexa Karabin, Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Helen Kleczynski, Honore Lee, Dave Middleton, Lynn Pattison, Nichole Riley, Linda Rzoska, Joe Smigiel, Vicki VanAmeyden, and Randy Walker.
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