Portrait of the Ecological Self, an exhibition by Maine artist Kimberly Callas (MFA ‘95), will be featured at the Leonard Craig Art Gallery, Unity College Center for the Performing Arts (UCCPA), from Aug. 15 to Sept. 12.
The gallery is located at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts (UCCPA) in Unity, Maine. A reception will be held at the UCCPA on Tuesday, September 9 from 5 – 7 p.m. with a Pecha Kucha style Artist Presentation at 6 p.m.
A 2013 grant award by The Puffin Foundation provided support for the development of Portrait of the Ecological Self. The Puffin Foundation Ltd. has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.
The exhibit examines the question of whether there is an ecological self, or a place within each individual that is in tune with nature. The concept of the ecological self allows one to think in terms of the self as interconnected with all of nature. “When considering the theory that there is a part of us that (innately) remembers we are of the natural world, not separate from it, I set off to find those connections through art,” noted Callas. “My hope was that if we could access our ecological selves, we could find ways to live within nature’s patterns, cycles, and limits.” Convinced that science alone would not offer the insights she was seeking, Callas combined scientific observation with spiritual practice and researched her first subject: herself.
She spent her mornings researching symbols from nature that are significant to the psyche, like circle, center, sun, mountain, and cave. “I would then use meditative writing and drawing techniques and in that way, prepare myself for the sculpting sessions,” Callas explained. “In the afternoons I would sculpt.”
Ultimately, Callas released the good that comes from personal attachments to nature. Such personal experience leads to action in the form preservation and conservation of the natural world, or sustainable solutions to ensure a viable planet in perpetuity.
Callas was also influenced by the events of September 11, 2001, and the war in Iraq. “I witnessed the attack and collapse of the World Trade Center while walking to my studio,” Callas stated. That and the war in Iraq led Kimberly, her husband and young child to relocate to Brooks, Maine, where they hand built an in-ground, stone house that is off-the-grid and heated solely with wood.
More information about Kimberly Callas and her work is available online at http://www.kimberlycallas.com.