Immigrant Shadows opening is Nov. 21
The exhibition opening of "Immigrant Shadows: Tracing the Herders' Legacy" will take place at the Center for Arts & History Gallery, location at 721 Seventh Ave, on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 4-7 p.m.
The artists, Earl Swope and Amy Nack of Boise, will be present at the opening. Wine and beer will be available from La Boheme.
Swope and Nack have collaborated on an installation entitled Immigrant Shadows: Tracing the Herders' Legacy celebrating tree carvings (arborglyphs) left by sheepherders in mountain aspens of the West. The installation becomes an interpretive grove of paper compositions representing; carvings, trees and forest canopy.
Deftly wielding a utility knife Nack cuts images of trees and leaves into large panels of paper, creating a sculptural landscape of aspen trees. Cutting into the paper simulates the experience of herders cutting into the delicate bark of the aspen. A canopy of branches and restless paper leaves shelters arborglyph castings and tall narrow panels create a fictional mountain grove. The negative space resulting from the cuts cast filigree shadows and reflections and hint at the earlier presence of the solitary immigrant herders. The viewer is invited to consider their own shadow within the grove and to reflect on their ancestral entry to America.
Swope has traveled into the mountains of Idaho creating plaster and silicone casts of the herders’ actual arborglyphs. From these casts, Swope creates facsimile castings using cotton paper pulp flecked with aspen fibers. The monochromatic nature of the installation emphasizes the bas-relief of the carvings and metaphorically serves to represent the immigrants who carved into the trees.
Throughout American history the immigrant has been relegated to the shadows of society. The artists' use of paper as a medium epitomizes the ephemeral nature of both the immigrant and the carvings they leave behind. Arborglyphs are temporal as aspens live an average life span of 80 years. The relatively short life of the aspen parallels the generational apprenticeship America requires of her new citizens.
In January, 2009, Immigrant Shadows began a university and college tour throughout Western and Eastern Idaho, including the Idaho Historical Museum in Boise and the Nevada Historical Museum in Elko, Nevada. The exhibition was most recently selected to participate in ArtPrize, an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The artists were included in a group of 1262 artist participating in this first time International event. Immigrant Shadows will also be installed in part at Ellis Island in early 2010 as a component of Boise State University's Basque Studies Program and the Basque History Museum’s exhibition.
Immigrant Shadows: Tracing the Herders' Legacy will run November 21 thru January 15, 2010. The exhibition is brought to the community through King Services Construction and a grant from US Bancorp, as well as the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are graciously accepted. For more information please visit the website at www.lcsc.edu/museum or call 208.792.2243.