The one thing artists can offer the world during a pandemic is their art.
I invite you to visit the virtual exhibition Force of Nature: Georgia Weithe and Helen Klebesadel which will be on web-display October 1-December 26, 2020 thanks to River Arts Inc. Also plan to join in a Live Zoom Q&A with the artists: Tuesday, Oct 20, 6-7pm. Zoom link TBA. (Check the website or ask Helen to email your the link when its available.
We currently live in the Corvid-19 era of real anxiety and loss. It has been made all the more difficult in many places by climate change driven natural disasters. Our experiences are exacerbated by extreme social and political unrest as the inequities in our social, political and economic systems have been revealed by the epidemic. AND it is a particularly contentious Presidential election year. Other than helping to get out the vote and and acting in ways that protect our families and communities, what better way to deal with this complicated and anxiety provoking time of crisis we find ourselves in that than to create and share creative work?
My ability to focus on my own and other people’s creative work has saved my mental health during these challenging times. My spouse and I have been lucky enough to be able to stay home in Madison since March. In that time I have learned all about Zoom to stay connected with friends and family and to enhance my knowledge of online art teaching. (Watch for new online watercolor workshops in January 2021). I am also administer of a wonderful art-focused facebook group called Cabin Fever Creative Community, which has allowed me to connect virtually with 6000+ emerging and professional artists from across the USA and internationally. (Lurkers welcome. Come join us.)
Georgia Weithe and I have known each other for years… since before either of us had an art career. We met as young women in rural Wisconsin and have watched each other find our creative voices and develop our art over the years. In addition to being drawn to the deep inner journey and etherial beauty of the artist’s path we are both inspired by the awesome power of nature. It appears in our subject matter and the symbolic imagery of our art. It is our great joy to have the opportunity to share our work together in a virtual exhibition.
Originally planned as an in-person exhibition, we switched to offering a virtual exhibition due to the pandemic to ensure the safety of our audience. For this exhibition Georgia Weithe is the featured gallery artist at River Arts on Water Gallery. Her beautiful jewelry is regularly available in the gallery in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. I was invited to share the limelight as a visiting featured artist for this exhibition and I am thrilled to exhibit with Georgia.
I have enjoyed creating artworks for this exhibition to create a cohesive body of work that reflects aesthetics Georgia Weithe and I share. I look forward to hearing what you think of the exhibition we have put together and how it feels to experience it virtually instead of in-person. The virtual advantage is that we can share it more widely and safely, but we will miss the opportunity to talk to people who would have come to help us celebrate the sharing of our art and the unique pairings that come from this kind of collaboration between artists and a venue.
Georgia Lang Weithe creates unique one-of-a-kind and production art jewelry pieces that, to me, reflect depth of spirit and subtle life-rich meaning. Her art and other creative and critical work are informed by the concept of Reflection, with its dual distinct meanings: meditative—the inner and spiritual journey. Georgia makes her art metals pieces available in multiple venues through her art business Reflection Jewelry in addition to showing at River Arts on Water Gallery.
A small Amish built cabin has served as her art studio for the last decade. Georgia has a dream commute (several hundred feet) to her beautiful studio, surrounded by a lovely flower garden, wild woods, and the birds and animals that inhabit it
Making jewelry is in its own way a form of meditation for Georgia. Her designs flow from within and are an expression of her own unique quality of spirit. She says “Everyone has a unique quality spirit, and we each do things and express ourselves in ways that nobody else can… it can be a work of art, or it can be how we solve a problem or care for a friend.”
Georgia and I decided to go to a deeper level of collaboration in our shared exhibition experience. We have created a unique piece that includes both of our creative voices. I am enthralled with a piece Georgia created entitled My Egyptian Dream. She has been attracted to ancient Egyptian artifacts for many years and was inspired to create a pectoral – a large necklace that sits on the chest. The pectoral incorporates a number of elements found in ancient Egyptian jewelry including birds, snakes, water lilies and the moon, as well as turquoise gemstones. She added glass beads as an extra embellishment because of the color and the reflections of light that they offer. The specially designed clasp is easy to fasten and is made of sterling silver, as are the beads. In discussing the design of the joint exhibition the idea emerged that lead to me creating a watercolor painting on wood panel that could serve as a mount for the necklace so it can be displayed as art when not being worn. I brought my love of moonlight to create an imaginary world designed to enhance Georgia’s work, with the result being the joint piece Egyptian Dream.
This exhibition could not have happened without the support of the River Arts on Water Gallery and all the work of Studio Manager Kristina Coopman. (Thank you Kristina!) While our exhibition is virtual the gallery continues its programing as safe pandemic practices allow. You can check the website to see the days and hours it is open and how its operation in the safest possible way. The gallery was opened in 2011 as a visual arts venue for area artists and their audiences. It is a beautiful space on the banks of the Wisconsin River in Prairie du Sac. Devoted to the cultural and ecological vitality of the communitiy, it is a retail gallery, a concert and gathering place operated by River Arts, Inc. The gallery offers art workshops for all ages in its small studio and online and supports interesting virtual events like Sauk Prairie Lip Sync….Like all organizations and business focused in the arts and culture realm, ir appreciates your support, especially now.
Please read our exhibition statements and plan to visit our virtual exhibition over the next few months. We appreciate your interest and support for our creative work.
Georgia Weith Force of Nature exhibition statement.
To me the force of nature is its beauty
Without beauty there is no joy.
Without beauty there is no hope.
Without beauty we are left with a sense that a part of us is missing.
Gazing on nature’s beauty, we are driven deeper into ourselves. There we find a limitless wellspring of our own natural resources like hope and joy and equanimity and peace. A feeling of completeness settles over us.
I am striving to express some of nature’s beauty in my work and I hope you will enjoy looking at it.
Helen Klebesadel Force of Nature exhibition statement.
Artists have dealt with the human relationship to nature for centuries.
Raised in rural Wisconsin, I am inspired by the magic and mystery of the landscape of Wisconsin, and by the sheer Force of Nature in our lives. My visual concerns run the gamut from careful study to poetic, symbolic and sometimes political representations of nature.
As a gardener I can be caught contemplating a single flower or plant until time is lost, knowing the opportunity is as fleeting as life itself. Creating art from observation is one of the few activities we have where we are allowed to slow down, to pause, and to take a second look…to examine nature and to know it deeply by looking. Immersing myself in the process of careful looking that painting from life requires has become a practice of active meditation for me. I love nature with my attention.
My art making has helped me better understand how ecosystems and nature are connected to each other and us. It has helped me contemplate how is it we are drawn to representations of nature but seem to be moving farther and farther from understanding ourselves as a part of nature; from understanding where our food, air, and water comes from; and from being responsible stewards for the earth. My art intends to remind us that humans ARE nature and what we do to the earth we do to ourselves.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”— Aldo Leopold
Please visit the virtual exhibition Force of Nature: Georgia Weithe and Helen Klebesadel , October 1-December 26, 2020. Also plan to join the artist for a Live Zoom Q&A with the artists: Tuesday, Oct 20, 6-7pm. Zoom link TBA.