EXPEDITIONS: FROM ICELAND TO THE GOBI DESERT
PAULA ESTEY GALLERY
3 HARRIS STREET
FEBRUARY 1 THROUGH MARCH 10
by Brian Goslow
“Expeditions: From Iceland to the Gobi Desert,” featuring work by Lisa Lebofsky, Lisa Goren, Will Nourse, Katherine Richmond and David Stone, can be seen from February 1 through March 10 at the Paula Estey Gallery in Newburyport, Mass.
“Expeditions” occurs as the gallery nears its fourth anniversary this April. “Over these short years, we have had solo and two-person exhibitions, as well as group shows,” Estey noted. “In the past 18 months, our shows have become much more thematic, drawing upon my own desires to expand my client-base’s exposure to contemporary art, and to open us all to the collaborative nature of art, when curated into a meaningful narrative.”
Estey makes no bones about the fact she is an activist, but instead of having exhibitions that blatantly describe the political climate — which she said she’s learned does not produce the desired outcome of attracting more people to see and collect the art shown in her gallery — she’s devoted herself to working to bring people together. “Bridges are the most important thing that I can create and contribute to my community,” Estey said. “I want to deliver shows that express a heart-opening approach to tough subjects; I do not seek to display art that alienates.”
Since she began planning her exhibition schedule for 2018, climate has constantly been on her mind. “Practically speaking, February and March are cold, cold months. I thought, ‘Why not exploit the weather, dive into the weather and have a show just on ICE, on the melting ice, the ice that holds our planet together?’” Estey said. “I want to show the melting ice, in such a way that opens people to wanting to help save it, because they have now been exposed to its beauty. The exhibition grew from there.”
Will Nourse, a self-taught landscape photographer from Amesbury, Mass. whose work reflects a lifetime of hiking, climbing, skiing and sailing — all of which have given him a deep appreciation for the wonders of the natural world — said that work that celebrates and focuses on our natural surroundings absolutely can serve to encourage its viewers to be more active in protecting our environment.
“Sometimes it can be as simple as reminding people of what’s in their own back yards and how easy it is for them to access, while other times, it may show them a problem or issue about which they had no conception,” Nourse said. “Much as the work of Bierstadt, Hill and Moran exposed the beauty of Yosemite to the public, photography today can do the same for other places. Of course, the risk of this is that more people go to these places, which increases their impact on these environments, but I do think that once they’ve seen them, they will be more inclined to take steps to preserve them.”