Neo-Naturalists at the Museum of Northwest Art


Cargo by Todd Horton

I don't normally post about events on this web site, but this event is so unusual and relevant that I have made an exception. This is the second exception I have made that was prompted by the same artist, David Eisenhower (Ike). From his announcement:

Ike pulled together a group of talented artists whose work honors the natural world and responds to environmental predicaments, including climate change and ocean acidification, for a major show this Spring at Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA. Neo-Naturalists opens at Museum of Northwest Art, March 21, 2015. Concurrently, Bio-devotional, at Gallery Cygnus in La Conner will feature four artists in MONA show.

Eisenhour selected the 16 artists participating in the exhibition at the Museum of Northwest Art (MONA), which runs March 21 to June 14, 2015. Local artists participating in the show include Stephen Cunliffe, David Eisenhour, Michael Felber, Karen Hackenberg, Tom Jay, Sara Mall Johani and Karen Rudd. Other participating artists include Todd Horton (Samish Island), Philip McCracken (Guemes Island), Michael Paul Miller (Port Angeles), Allen Moe (Guemes Island), Ann Morris (Lummis Island), Peregrine O'Gormley (La Conner), Mary Randlett (Olympia) and Joseph Rossano (Arlington). There will be a curator walk-through on March 21 at 1pm. The opening reception is the same day starting at 2:00pm.

The concept of a group of artists working together to respond to current impacts on our natural environment was hatched in 2013 when the Center on Contemporary Art presented "The New Neo-Naturalists", featuring Eisenhour along with other local artists Lisa Gilley and Sean Yearian. Eisenhour proposed continuing and expanding the group for a show at the Museum of Northwest Art to curator Lisa Young. MONA engaged curator Robert Yoder to select specific works by each of the artists. Of the show, Yoder says, As nature changes to adapt to present stresses, these artists are also adapting to view their creations in a new way. Not only creating artworks to show respect for their subject, they feel a need to address issues of growth, change and loss.

On Saturday, May 2nd at 4PM there will be a panel discussion on the intersection of Art and Climate Change featuring artists in the show and renowned regional scientists. Participating in the panel will be Nina Bednarsek, Ph.D., David Eisenhour (sculptor), Richard A. Feely, Ph.D., Tom Jay (sculptor) and Karen Hackenberg (painter).

A concurrent show, Bio-devotional, will be on display at Gallery Cygnus in La Conner featuring four artists included in the Neo-Naturalists show at MONA. Bio-devotional will include works by David Eisenhour, Todd Horton, Phil McCracken and Mary Randlett. The opening of this show will also be on March 21 at 5PM.


by Karen Hackenberg

I would like to add 2 things: First, Ike's work has been featured elsewhere on this site because of the amazing job he does of representing marine creatures in his sculptures, but even more because he creates displays of them that suggest the ecosystem in which they live.

Second, Karen Hackenberg's work is reminiscent of another artist featured on this site: Robi Smith.

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