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Environmental Art, Music Exhibition, Oratorio @ D&R Greenway thru 6/25; Oratorio July 28
June 13 @ 9:00 am - June 25 @ 5:00 pmfree but call galleries to be sure not rented at time of visit
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY—For a limited time only, D&R Greenway Land Trust is presenting a special exhibition by award-winning environmental artist Cameron (Cami) Davis. Cosmophilia* will be on view June 21-July 25 in D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton. Reception and Lecture: Thursday, June 21, 5:30 – 7 p.m. RSVP at email@example.com. Gallery hours Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. www.drgreenway.org
The artwork, on large canvases that draw the viewer into the space, “celebrates our human relationship within a whole, living and evolving Earth and Cosmos,” says the artist. Her paintings, installations and community art projects “explore the natural world at the edges where inner and outer perceptions meet.” Her semi-abstract work explores the boundaries between observable phenomena and intuitive musings and improvisations.
Using layers of paint and other media, Davis creates engaging visual imagery as a wake-up call to environmental disaster. A series titled “Endless Spring” is based on a Buddhist term for enlightenment. Davis asks, “Will we truly continue to experience the renewal of spring if we do not address climate change, if we do not address the evolution of consciousness?”
This is the first time that all of the works in Cosmophilia are being shown in totality, and will include several new pieces still in development in early June. When seen at D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center gallery, “the art will move the viewer to experience a visual landscape where clear elements of nature and the abstract combine to inspire thinking beyond our day-to-day encounters,” says Linda Mead, President & CEO. “I am especially excited that the artist and her collaborator, composer Sam Guarnaccia, will share their inspiration and technique in a special lecture at the opening reception on June 21.”
“Endless Spring” is part of a collaboration with composer Sam Guarnaccia’s “Emergent Universe Oratorio.” The Oratorio’s 100 voiced choir and chamber orchestra libretto and spoken recitatives address the relevancy of the “journey of the universe” to these times.
Guarnaccia will join Davis June 21 for a lecture at the opening reception. A month later, on Saturday, July 28, 5:30-11:30 p.m., visitors can join D&R Greenway for a bus trip to Villanova Chapel to experience the Emergent Universe Oratorio, presented for the first time in the Mid-Atlantic region. Cost: $125 per person. RSVP by Thursday, July 12.
Davis first met Guarnaccia and his wife, Paula, in 2002 while working to bring a Peace Summit to the University of Vermont. “That was the beginning of a friendship that continues to this day,” Davis says.
“In 2010 we started talking about finding a way, through music and art, to help raise consciousness about the growing environmental crisis,” Davis continues. “Our inspiration came from Bill McKibben’s words asking, ‘Where is the art and music of this time?’ He was calling for an artistic response to humanity’s devastation of the Earth. How could we create an expression that reaches the heart, awakens the mind, and evokes the radiant possibilities of a mutually enhancing human presence in our Earth home? Those conversations were the seeds of the Emergent Universe Oratorio project and the Endless Spring painting series.”
The paintings were part of a three-year collaboration with the Guarnaccias. “We came together with the idea that Sam’s music, my painting and all three of us working on the content for the recitative texts, was a way to explore the intensity of our feelings, our sense of urgency to individually and collectively respond to what is happening with Earth.”
The threesome spent a year, reading, discussing and culling selections from ecological and new science texts that could inform the project. Sam chose poems that he could musically respond to for the major choral pieces. Davis’s work resulted in a stage set comprised of 12 large scale paintings.
A Senior Lecturer with the University of Vermont’s Department of Art and Art History, Environmental Program and a 2013 University of Vermont Sustainability Fellow, Davis teaches painting, drawing and transdisciplinary courses on art, ecology and community.
Davis earned her Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Pratt Institute in 1981 and her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from the University of Vermont in 1976. She has also undertaken post-graduate studies in ecological thinking at Schumacher College in Devon, United Kingdom, in 1998 and 2015, and has attended artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada. She has exhibited throughout Vermont, New York, San Diego and Cleveland. Her work is in private and public collections nationally.
The recipient of the Lee Krasner-Jackson Pollock Foundation grant for painting, the Argosy Foundation and Puffin Foundation grants for painting (in collaboration with composer Sam Guarnaccia), a University of Vermont UVM Sustainability Fellow, and the Lattie Coor award recipient for Strengthening the Environment in the Humanities at the University of Vermont, Davis’s paintings, installations and community art projects have followed the climate-change movement for the last decade. She is a member of the ecoartnetwork.org and WEAD Woman Environmental Artists Directory.
**Cosmophilia, defined by Duane Elgin in “The Living Universe”: “We can expand the feeling of connection and appreciation of life (biophilia) to the entire cosmos—a word that was first used by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras to describe our universe as a living embodiment of nature’s order, harmony and beauty. Building on the concept of biophilia, we can create the word cosmophilia. Cosmophilia describes the kinship and affiliation we feel with the totality of nature and our experience of felt connection with the harmony and beauty of our universe.”
D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST IS IN ITS 29TH YEAR of preserving and protecting natural lands, farmlands and open spaces throughout central and southern New Jersey. Through continuous preservation and stewardship — caring for land and easements to ensure they remain protected and ecologically healthy in perpetuity — D&R Greenway nurtures a healthier and more diverse environment for people and wild species in seven counties. Accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, D&R Greenway’s mission is to preserve and care for land and inspire a conservation ethic, now and for the future. Since its founding in 1989, D&R Greenway has permanently preserved more than 20,000 acres, an area 20 times the size of New York City’s Central Park, including 30 miles of trails open to the public. The Johnson Education Center, a circa 1900 restored barn at One Preservation Place, Princeton, is D&R Greenway’s home. Through programs, art exhibits and related lectures, D&R Greenway inspires greater public commitment to safeguarding land.