Angela Faris Belt and Nathan Abels, professors and program directors at ACC, were featured in a five day pop up show from September 1st – 5th at Michael Warren Contemporary gallery. Belt, a professor at ACC and program chair of the studio art and art history departments, explained her process of capturing life endlessly without ending it.
Her exhibit, The Nascent, displays young aspen trees pulled by the roots laid on water color paper coated with cyanotype, a chemical sensitive to light. She then sprays or paints the tree with acids and bases such as soap or lemon juice, puts glass over the entire piece, and lets it sit in the sun for around 4 hours. The chemical reaction then causes a cyan-blue print of the tree to be on the water color paper, ready to be photographed, and creating a lifetime print of nature that will eventually die.
“It fades, just sort of like life itself and everything else it goes away.”, Belt says while describing how these trees are captured to sustain life after life has passed. With COVID-19 still ongoing, the future is unpredictable. There is no definite end to the virus and, as it did at the beginning of this pandemic, everything could change within a short amount of time. Belt’s work of capturing moments that people would not have noticed until it was too late embodies the importance of mindfulness during this isolating journey.
Abels’ exhibit, Tent Shadows, shows that being removed from the world’s issues can cause small things to become beautiful works of art. A professor and Arts and Design coordinator at ACC, his airbrushed paintings of tree shadows on his camping tent during a trip away from the world’s chaos present the feeling of looking at the world through a different lens.
Looking at his creations, they create a calm and content demeanor in this aura of the unknown. Airbrushed with an acrylic mix, the details with unfocused components makes his pieces alluring. The matching theme of aspen trees between the artists’ exhibits was a coincidence, and it happened to all fall together through fate.
Mike McClung, the gallery owner, explained that with the social distancing limitations and their interrupted schedule from the pandemic, the pop up shows such as Belt and Abels’ are a way to get creative with programming.
The pop up shows are week long exhibitions that change throughout the month. With masks, hand sanitizer, and other precautions in place, the event was a safe and mesmerizing display of creativity in the flesh. Future works of Belt and Abels will be upcoming, and a future planned collaboration could be in sight. As Abels said, “If I have learned anything from 2020, it is flexibility and adaptability,” and with the uncertainty of the future in this confusing time, the art world will continue to play it by ear.