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Artists’ voices are embodied in the work they produce, work that reflects the existential crises of this era in which we live, the losses as well as the hope for renewal that art can bring. The June exhibitions at Kingston Gallery are profoundly moving expressions of this dialogue. Using nature as both their medium and their metaphor, each artist explores the seasonal rhythms of nature and the cycle of human life. In her Main and Center Gallery exhibition, Cycle, Ann Wessmann uses natural materials collected from a horse chestnut tree and a thorny hedge in the yard of her childhood home to construct large scale installations. Each piece uses materials with personal meaning to ponder how we thoughtlessly discard what was once essential to life for a tree, and how our fruitless struggles to maintain and control nature metaphorically encapsulate our journey through life. In the Project Space, Rhonda Smith’s installation Madonna of the Woods, converges the iconography of the Brera Madonna or Pala Montefeltro by Piero della Francesca (1472-74) with reverence for the spirituality of the ‘Mother Tree’ of the forest. Smith asks the question: If without the trees our network of life would collapse, then should a tree's role in the carbon cycle and all things natural be considered sacred?
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