Friday, June 3, 2011

Art in Salem

Our downtown (Salem, OR) has an art walk on the first Wed. of each month.  I haven't been in awhile, but decided to take our house guest, Dean,  who's here this week for classes at a regional weaving conference.

First we hit Venti's for some "good, clean food" (and it was!).   Actually, there was another reason:  to see Dayna Collins' mixed-media show, which is hanging at Venti's through the end of June.  We sat at one of the two booths, where Dayna's "littles" hung on the wall next to us.  Those were my favorites!

Here's the postcard about the show:
(Back of postcard)

The other highlight of the evening was finally discovering the gallery Pheromones.  I remember reading about it, but forgot it was there.  Wow, was I amazed!  The artist, Christopher Marley, collects natural artifacts from around the world, then mounts and frames them into the most unusual assemblages.  What are these artifacts?  exotic beetles, butterflies, and other insects with iridescent, gem-like colors; tiny, intricate fossils; botanicals such as carnivorous pitcher plants; and deep sea organisms.   The colors are brilliant and 100% natural.  No touch-ups with metallic paints, no varnish to add shine.  (I know; I asked!)

An insect mosaic from Pheromone Gallery
Many of these insects came from South America, where their native habitat was being destroyed and converted to farmland.  However, Marley's team is helping reverse that trend by training locals to collect these insects, which helps their economy and places more attention on the importance of preserving the natural habitat.

According to the Pheromone Gallery's brochure, "Leading environmentalists and entomologists agree that insect collecting can actually aid in the preservation of insect species by offering an economic incentive to preserve the habitat in which this 'sustainable rainforest crop' thrives."

This is a fascinating show.  Though some parts of it felt downright creepy to me, all I had to do was shift my focus away from the spider crabs to the intricate, gossamer wings of a dragonfly, and I was back to seeing beauty.

Don't miss this!  It's like a trip to a science museum, jewelry store, and art gallery all rolled into one!

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