What began as an online environmental art exhibition created during the pandemic, Points of Return, curated by A La Luz, will see its premiere as a large-scale physical exhibition – including installation, sculpture, sound, photography and video art – at The Umbrella Arts Center.
Occupying two floors of gallery space, converted lobby space, and Black Box Theater, the curators have created a series of themed “rooms,” mapping out a journey from Eclipse to Return. Each room allows visitors to experience the work of diverse international artists who have immersed themselves in a wide range of global environments undergoing different stages of the climate crisis.
The end destination: resolute optimism. The Umbrella’s Visual Arts Manager, Stephanie Marlin-Curiel comments, “It is as if the Earth is telling its own story of destruction and hope, and the artists have become vessels for the telling.”
A La Luz is a platform and curatorial project founded by environmental artists Gonzaga Gómez-Cortázar Romero, born in Spain and based in New York, and David Cass, born in Scotland and based in Athens. Five of the artists were selected through an open call juried by a panel of founders and directors of the Temporal School of Experimental Geography, The Climate Museum in New York City, Land Art Generator, Green Art Lab Alliance as well as environmental artists, activists and scientists. Including installations by the two curators, the 11 other artists presenting physical works in the exhibition include New England artists Erin Woodbrey and Luke Myers, as well as Bethany Johnson (Texas) Felipe de Ávila Franco (Finland via Brazil) David Ellingsen (Canada), Tanja Geis (California), Miguel Jeronimo (Cambodia via Portugal), Miguel Sbastida (Spain), Adam Sébire (Arctic Circle via Australia), Ulrika Sparre (Sweden), and Planetary Intimacies (Germany). The remaining fourteen artists from the original online exhibition will be represented on screen and video projection and can be found at TheUmbrellaArts.org/POR.
In the words of Dr. Gary Husband, lecturer at The University of Sunderland, “The artists, capturing both the human spirit and representation of the deeper world around us, offer an insight into the regaining of lost connections to the Earth’s deeper cycles and the building of a new understanding and alignment with longer geological time.” While it may seem that we are racing toward a closing act, we have not yet reached that dreaded “point of no return” and artists are in the unique position of being able to offer scientific data in new ways.
The exhibition will be on display May 1 – June 25, with the following special events:
May 6, 5-8 p.m. — Opening reception. Curator remarks and introduction to artists at 6pm. May 7, noon — Guided tour followed by Return to Resonance, a sound bath performance by Amy Duncan.
May 13, 4-5 p.m. — American Literature Before, Through and After the Climate Emergency. Talk by Dr. Joseph Donica (CUNY) and presented in partnership with The Thoreau Society.
June 10, 6:30-9 p.m. — Into the Oceanic: Double screening event by artist-filmmakers Elizabeth Ogilvie and Robert Page, focussing on underwater habitats and the importance of educational entry points in environmental artwork. Documentary screening and pre-recorded talk by Dr. Gary Husband from 7:30 p.m. in the main theater, preceded by a creative oceanic projection in the Black Box and exhibition viewing. Refreshments available for purchase.
The exhibition and events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit TheUmbrellaArts.org/POR to register.
The Umbrella is ADA accessible, offers free lot and street parking, and is conveniently located off Route 2 and two blocks from the Fitchburg Line.