The Weather Within and Without reveals the power of art and its form

By Delaney Runge

Copy Editor

Members of the Washington College and Chestertown community entered the Tawes Theatre the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 21 to hear the current Kohl Gallery exhibition contributors Caryn Martin and Stephanie Wolff discuss their work on display for The Weather Within and Without.

Kohl Gallery, Maryland State Arts Council, the Center for Environment and Society, and the art & art history department sponsored the event.

Associate Professor of Studio Art Julie Wills and Cultural and Natural Resource Initiatives Director for CES Dr. Michael Chiarappa led the talk with the two artists discussing their work, process, and how weather was related to both sets of art.

According to Wills, former Director of the Kohl Gallery Tara Gladden “identified a common thread in this work” seeing the force of weather in both Martin and Wolff’s art in “meteorological and metaphoric” ways.

Martin’s art in this exhibition utilizes paper and printing in order to create the colors and physical positioning of each piece.

“I think for me, my work has always had a connection to weather,” Martin said. “There’s something about the language of [it], an atmosphere that feels very much almost like a self-portrait.”

Conversely, Wolff’s art centers around the 15 almanacs of Anna Blackwood Howell, where she recorded the yearly climate patterns and other agricultural occurrences. Her work, unlike Martin’s, uses the medium of textiles such as quilting and embroidery.

Wolff’s connection to weather errs on its physical manifestation, such as the environment and precipitation since it has always dictated the way of life where she lives.

Her pieces within the exhibition display images and descriptions from Howell’s almanacs of the atmospheric conditions she experienced in her lifetime, often showing an emotional connection.

“I think that the weather as we know is changeable,” Wolff said. “It’s not the same every day and our interior emotional lives are also changeable and not the same.”

Through their art, Martin and Wolff each show the way that weather manifests itself in their lives as a representation of one’s own emotional state and the physical dealings with it, respectively.

Junior Morgan Carlson attended the talk after both their printmaking and ecopoetry courses invited them. Wolff also led a workshop in the former.

“I was really curious to hear more about the works that I’d already seen and get to know the artists better,” Carlson said.

Carlson appreciated the way that the two artists work in various mediums but came together via the common theme.

“I really love it and the way that they explore with different materials, particularly paper, and I think that it was curated really beautifully, considering that both of the artists’ works blend…,” Carlson said.

Director of Archives and Technical Services Lindsay Sheldon liked the way that Wolff was able to incorporate research into the art she created, since she found out about Howell while completing a research fellowship.

“As an archivist, I really enjoyed that somebody did the research and they were inspired by it and they used it,” Sheldon said. “It’s not just there for historians.”

Electronic Resources Librarian Cori Lynn Arnold teaches the magpies of the archives first-year seminar class and felt that the research that went into these art pieces could be inspiring to the students in that course.

“We do a creative endeavor at the end of the class,” Arnold said. “These are perfect examples of things that students could do for those projects.”

The Weather Within and Without exhibit will be open until March 1 in the Kohl Gallery located on the first floor of the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts.

Photo Caption: Kohl Gallery hosts talk in Tawes followed by a reception.

Photos by Delaney Runge

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