July 15, 2020

“Rising Tides” Exhibit at Michener Museum

“AS THE SEA RISES – BLUE CRYSTALS REVISITED NO. 9”: This painting by Janet Filomeno is featured in “Rising Tides: Contemporary Art and the Ecology of Water,” on view at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., July 23 through January 10, 2021.

The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., is reopening to the public on July 23 with the exhibit “Rising Tides: Contemporary Art and the Ecology of Water,” on view through January 10, 2021.

The exhibit commemorates the  50th anniversary of Earth Day, established on April 22, 1970 to educate the public about environmental issues impacting our planet. “Rising Tides” will feature work by contemporary artists from the Bucks County and greater Philadelphia region that are investigating the effects of global warming, climate change, pollution, and related environmental concerns on bodies of water and aquatic species, including large-scale painting, works on paper, sculpture and installation. The exhibition will celebrate the power of art to visualize ecological crisis and global change through the eyes of seven area artists.

Emily Brown’s delicate renderings of water elicit emotion and consideration for the element that nurtures all life on Earth. While water permeates our world, we rarely study its subtleties. Brown’s large drawings allow close observation of its surface, composed of simple gray and white lines that swirl in alluring, abstracted arrangements. She has replicated this imagery on painted glass cylinders, which will also be included in the exhibition.

Diane Burko operates at the intersection of art, science, and environmental activism. To begin her work, Burko first travels to regions of critical concern to collaborate with scientists who are learning and spreading awareness about Earth’s deteriorating conditions. Featured in “Rising Tides” are mixed media paintings and inkjet prints, whose aerials views of glacial melt emphasize the scale and real-time effects of Earth’s warming climate.

For Janet Filomeno’s most recent series of paintings, “As the Sea Rises — Blue Crystals Revisited,” she streaks brilliant blue paint across each canvas, creating dynamic, abstracted compositions that visualize troubled waters highlighted by red boxes and lines. Filomeno created the original Blue Crystals series following the devastation of 9/11. In linking this new series to the previous one, Filomeno conveys her profound concern for our current turbulent political climate and the rapid acceleration of climate change.

Marguerita Hagan’s ceramic sculpture focuses attention to the remarkable diversity of creatures that comprise aquatic ecosystems, from microorganisms to larger organisms, like coral and the blue whale. In representing the most infinitesimal of life forms, Hagan stresses the interconnectedness of life on Earth, particularly aquatic life and its susceptibility to pollution and ocean acidification. Hagan’s sculptures thus allude to the monumental change human practices are imposing upon ocean ecosystems.

Pat Martin will exhibit two works of art that address the deteriorating conditions of oceanic ecosystems due to pollution. One work, Floating Reef, offers a depiction of discarded, tangled fishing nets that ominously float on the water’s surface, just above the sea life.

Stacy Levy’s installation, comprised of small vials of water collected from the Delaware River, will visualize the river and its swelling banks when flooded. This installation will track the Delaware’s fluctuating water levels and conditions, while considering the larger weather patterns that affect them.

The jagged, white surfaces of porcelain sculptures by Paula Winokur (1936-2018) evoke glacial ice. Winokur regarded porcelain as a contradictory material, as it is simultaneously strong enough to withstand searing temperatures when fired, but afterward becomes fragile and will shatter if disturbed. Porcelain is also sourced directly from the Earth, and its use in her work prompts consideration of the materials and processes that comprise our planet, as well as the glaciers, ice cores, and globes her sculpture represents.

The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street in Doylestown, Pa. All visitors, including members, volunteers, and docents, must receive timed tickets to gain entry. All guests will be required to wear masks. Visit michenerartmuseum.org for more information and a full list of the museum’s new safety guidelines.