Oscar Wilde said that life imitates art far more than art imitates life. I don’t know if I believe that’s true, but a powerful argument for the sentiment can be made by a quick visit to the Regional Arts Commission this month. This evening eARThworks, Art for an Endangered Planet, premieres at 5:30 p.m. and examines the ability of earth’s natural spaces to inspire and delight.
This triennial art show is a fundraiser for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, the state’s leading member supported environmental advocacy organization since 1969. Many pieces reflect the artist’s love for the outdoors with pieces by Cary Horton and Joyce Odile Pion that play to the whimsy and wonder found in nature. Other works in the show speak to a more serious and darker inspiration; nature’s muse reflecting concern for environment. One such sculpture by Gwyn Wahlmann speaks to this; her piece “River Road” highlights the artist’s idea of a post-apocalyptic future, while using found and recycled materials discovered anywhere from a creek to a junkyard.
The most obvious example of life imitating art—imitating life is the work by David Huth, a painting called Castlewood Morning. The piece captures a beautiful fall morning with warm golden colors depicting a scene from Castlewood State Park. As a Plein Air (or open air) painter, Huth immerses himself in the spaces in which he paints. “Plein Air paintings are like time capsules. They are as much about the process and the experience as the product itself. When I look at my own paintings from years past, I am flooded with memories of the sounds, smells, weather and people I met while painting,” states Huth. His paintings are a moment trapped in time; a memory in paint.
The Coalition is actively working to make sure artists like Huth can continue to create these pieces in an environment that is both pristine and welcoming, for generations to come. In Castlewood the Missouri Coalition for the Environment has actively fought to protect the Kiefer Creek Watershed after it discovered that the bacterial levels in the creek contained dangerous levels of E. coli. It works with residents, state and local officials, and outdoor activists to educate and advocate for the area. Coalition employee, Lorin Crandall leads monthly hikes through the area and is currently filming a documentary on the Kiefer Creek watershed to show how to utilize community engagement to take on environmental issues. This is just one of the many programs the Missouri Coalition for the Environment tackles to try to preserve the state’s natural resources.
These programs can only continue with the support of the community, however. The eARThworks art show is a beautiful example of a community giving back. The show is made up of over fifty pieces, all of them donated by local artists as a show of support for the work done by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. These pieces will be on display and for sale all month.
Several pieces will be held on reserve to be auctioned off at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1 at the Regional Arts Commission by emcee Guy Phillips in an evening filled with art, music, food and fun. All of the proceeds will benefit the powerful work done by the Coalition. I encourage you to visit the Regional Arts Commission to see the show and more importantly I encourage you to visit www.moenviron.org to purchase art. By supporting the event you can guarantee that art will continue to imitate life, or vise versa. You can help the Missouri Coalition for the Environment protect the very spaces that will inspire and delight generations of artists to come.