The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) presents Earth, Fire, Water, Ice, Debris: Five Artists Comment on the Environment, an exhibition of work dedicated to artists using their powerful visual skills to bring awareness to environmental issues in the world. Five artists, Helena Bienstock, Diane Burko, Anita Glesta, Susan Hockaday, and Martha Vaughn, use unexpected mediums to address climate change, global warming, infrastructure, and additional subjects related to environmental disturbance and destruction.
Earth, Fire, Water, Ice, Debris: Five Artists Comment on the Environment, curated by Judith K. Brodsky, will be on view in the Arts Council of Princeton’s award-winning Taplin Gallery from March 17 through May 5, with an Artists’ Talk on Saturday, March 17 from 5-6pm, immediately followed by an Opening Reception from 6-8pm.
Helena Bienstock has been working with clay since the early 1970s, but at the same time has had a long-term teaching career both in Princeton and New York City. She has been active in helping to sustain cultural organizations in New York State and New Jersey, such as the Arts Council of Princeton itself. In appreciation, the clay studio in the Arts Council building is named the Helena Bienstock Clay Studio. Her passion for the environment infuses all her work, bringing together art and social consciousness.
Martha Vaughn has thousands of photographs archived on her computer. One would think her camera is almost an extension of her body in looking at the photographic record she has made of the natural world in her many travels. In 2014, a book of Vaughn’s photographs, Of Time and Place, was published. Her work is included in the collections of the New Jersey State Museum and Princeton University among other public institutions and in many private collections.
Diane Burko carries on the landscape tradition of the 19th century, but gives it a 21st century perspective. Burko has always painted the extreme landscape, including the world’s largest ice fields—Greenland, Antarctica (twice), Argentina’s Patagonia, Alaska, and the Northern Atlantic just below the Arctic Circle. In the last few years, the works she has been creating have been shown in over 100 exhibitions throughout the country in such venues as the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC as well as the more usual venues of art museums and galleries.
Anita Glesta works in sculpture, video, and installation to create settings that engage people with the space around them physically and metaphorically. Her video installation, Watershed, included in this exhibition is a public art project that has been installed previously during the New Museum Ideas City Festival in New York City, and on the surface of the National Theater in London facing the Thames. It also was seen in 2017 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, as an immersive video on the streets of the community to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. She has been a recipient of many grants and awards, among them a New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship, a Puffin Foundation grant, a Pollock/Krasner fellowship, and a New York State Council for the Arts New Media fellowship.
For over 15 years, Susan Hockaday has addressed our experience of nature as we witness its decline through the forces of climate change. She has worked in several mediums, including etching, handmade paper, collage construction, photography and drawing. Hockaday has lived and worked in Holland and England and has lectured in China. In addition, for almost 50 years, she has resided on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, with her family during the summer. The new landscape of detritus has been her focus for the photographs in this exhibition.
Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ. Parking is available in the Spring and Hulfish Street Garages and at metered parking spots along Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place. For more information, please visit artscouncilofprinceton.org or call 609.924-8777.
The Arts Council of Princeton’s Taplin Gallery was founded in 2008 and has won Favorite Art Gallery in the Discover Jersey Arts People’s Choice Awards for five of the past six years. Located in the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, the Taplin Gallery is run by ACP artistic director Maria Evans and has featured artists such as Philip Pearlstein, Polly Apfelbaum, and Willie Cole, among other notable artists. The Taplin hosts a variety of events that are free and open to the public, including gallery openings and artist talks, as well as educational programming for local students K-12. ACP exhibitions and related educational programs receive funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Bob and Cynthia Hendrickson, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
The Arts Council of Princeton, founded in 1967, is a non-profit organization with a mission of Building Community through the Arts. Housed in the landmark Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, designed by architect Michael Graves, the ACP fulfills its mission by presenting a wide range of programs including exhibitions, performances, free community cultural events, and studio-based classes and workshops in a wide range of media. Arts Council of Princeton programs are designed to be high-quality, engaging, affordable and accessible for the diverse population of the greater Princeton region.