by Kayla Murphy
Scientist Bill McKibben once said, “We can register what is happening with satellites and scientific instruments, but we can register it in our imaginations, the most sensitive of all our devices? Art, like religion, is one of the ways we digest what is happening to us, make the sense out of it that proceeds to action.”
Until April 13, the Central Connecticut State University art gallery hosted the exhibition “Earth Fire Water Air: Elements of Climate Change.” That is open free to the public Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. Students, staff and faculty were able to enrich their minds on global warming and the current state of our environmental situation.
“How much CO2? That’s the fundamental question I want people to reflect upon,” said Elizabeth Langhorne.
Langhorne, whom retired from CCSU last June after teaching art history for over 25 years, is back again to teach an eco-art course. Her passion to create this environmental art exhibit stemmed from recent frustrations and disappoints in the government’s ability to balance economic growth and the environment.
“It’s time we got our act together,” Langhorne said, “We need to realize how hot the earth is getting and how much carbon dioxide we’re releasing.”
The art exhibit featured four sections, with pieces that appropriately highlighted each theme’s message. The earth section featured silk posters and beaded canvas anoraks, similar to what the Inuit tribes in the Artic would wear.
The fire section featured interactive videos of rising global temperatures and the diminishing bee population. The water section featured a glittery, laser paneled iceberg and recyclable boat created by CCSU students. The air section featured paintings and models of solar paneled flowers.
“I was very interested in the boat,” said senior communications major Dustin Wong. “It really stood out and at the opening reception they had a live canary in one of the bird cages, so I thought that was pretty cool.”
Using recycled plastics and other materials, Professor Ted Efremoff and his students Zach Hanna, Roland Muniz and Michelle Thomas created the Salvage Ark.
Besides the sculptures and interactive pieces, the paintings stood out to students.
“I liked the glittery highway painting,” said freshman theatre student Austin Brett. “I symbolically saw it as the cars driving into the storm they created through emissions and wasteful fossil fuels.”
Created by the artist Janet Culberston in 2009, the oil painting “Carpool” stood out to viewers in the fire section.
“We were fortunate enough to receive local and national pieces for this exhibit. We were able to obtain pieces from New Britain and Hartford to places as far as Boston, Long Island and Nebraska,” said Langhorne.
If one hasn’t seen the gallery, make sure to check out the closing reception for the exhibit on Wednesday April 12 from 4 to 7p.m. on the second floor art gallery in Maloney Hall. Enjoy free refreshments and artists discussing their work and views on the environment.
“It is possible; we can all make a difference,” said Langhorne, “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Carpool. Use less electricity. Grow wildflowers. All these little steps can help make our Mother Earth healthy and clean.”