BEARING WITNESS: 88 Cores + Paradise and Its Dark Side
September 23, 2019
Showing at the Putnam County Museum from October 1- November 29, BEARING WITNESS: 88 Cores + Paradise and Its Dark Side is a visual art exhibition of place and time in which the global and the local connect. The exhibition was conceived around the central issue of our time—rapid, human-induced climate change. The growth and progress for humanity’s well-being which drove the past 200 years of industrialization, a product of fossil fuel-based energy, has had destructive, unintended consequences on the environment which sustains us. Recorded rising temperatures of the atmosphere at unprecedented and alarmingly accelerated rates exacerbate natural forces of air, wind, fire, and water. Unless stopped, these forces will lead to environmental catastrophe.
Ice cores drilled out of the Greenland ice sheet reveal previously inaccessible scientifically reliable data. Ancient winds, infused with pollen, pollutants, ash, organic and inorganic particulates carried debris from flowers and fires, foundries and volcanic eruptions, mixing with seasonal snowfall which compressed into banded layers of ice. These bands can be counted and dated like tree rings. Ice cores are known as paleo-thermometers. Air bubbles trapped within the ice hold ancient air including gasses CO2 and methane providing an accounting of ancient atmosphere. They are the gold standard for indicating climate change for what they say about ancient atmospheric conditions going back hundreds to tens of thousands of years.
LA artist Peggy Weil’s video installation 88 Cores is a time machine through 110,000 years of climate history as it descends slowly through the Greenland Ice Sheet. This frozen history informs our heated future. 88 Cores is part of a series of Weil’s Underscapes and extended landscape portraiture to confront the deep time and deep space of climate change.
Paradise and Its Dark Side is artwork by contemporary area artists who reveal our local, glacier-carved landscape as we know it and live it here in fossil-strewn Putnam County. Participating area artists are Clare Backer, Jerry Bates, John Berry, Garret L. Boone, David Herrold, Robert Kingsley, William Meehan, George Jo Mess, Lori Miles, Martha Donovan Opdahl, Barbara Timm, and Reid Winsey. Yet, there is now evidence of something new and foreboding happening which threatens our paradise. Worse, threatens our very survival. We risk losing it all. A dread, a feeling of things gone wrong, very wrong, our artists capture and reveal. We know what is causing this escalating change which we witness almost daily.
This exhibition reminds us of what matters most to all of us—and that we care—which is essential for initiating dialogue and building trust to broaden our sense of urgency and shared capacity, to work together to create meaningful climate action.
BEARING WITNESS was curated by Martha Donovan Opdahl. The exhibition is presented by the Putnam County Museum in partnership with the DePauw University Richard Peeler Art Center, Greencastle IN
Putnam County Museum, October 1- November 29, 2019. Reception: Sunday, October 6, from 3-5pm with a gallery talk at 3:30
Museum hours: Tuesday – Friday, 1 – 4pm; Saturday, 10am – 4pm; Sunday 1- 4pm
Putnam County Museum, 105 N. Jackson St., Greencastle IN 765.653.8419 www.putnamcountymuseum.org