The geologic time scale is not the first thing most people think of when they think about viewing art, but the context of Kirsten Furlong’s new exhibit at the Pendleton Center for the Arts introduces food for thought about the current age we’re living through.
Her exhibit Night Passages opens today with a reception for the artist from 5:30-7 p.m. The event is free, and masks are required in the gallery.
“I create images and objects about human, animal, and plant interactions in places where these relationships are defining the Anthropocene,” said Furlong when describing her work.
The Anthropocene Epoch is an unofficial unit of geologic time, used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems. The word Anthropocene is derived from the Greek words anthropo, for “man,” and cene for “new,” coined and made popular by biologist Eugene Stormer and chemist Paul Crutzen in 2000.
Furlong’s recent projects relate to nuclear waste in the high desert of the western United States, declining habitat in the grasslands of the Great Plains, and the effects of climate change on species everywhere. In the work, animals and plants serve as emblems of nature and as metaphors for human desires. She uses detail, repetition and patterns inspired by those encountered in the natural world as a representational tool while also using mark making to express empathy, loss, and longing.
Furlong was born in Milwaukee, Wisc., and currently lives and works in Boise, Idaho. She received a BFA from the University of Nebraska and an MFA from Boise State University. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions, including several this year. Experiences at artist residencies in Denali National Park in Alaska, Signal Fire and PLAYA in Oregon, Jentel and Brush Creek in Wyoming, Montello Foundation in the Great Basin of Nevada, Prairieside Outpost in Kansas, and Good Hart Artist Residency in Michigan have created the foundation for many recent projects. Kirsten is the director of the Blue Galleries and a lecturer in the Department of Art, Design, and Visual Studies at Boise State University.
Night Passages will be on exhibit through Sept. 30, gallery admission is always free.
Support for the exhibit came from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Alexa Rose Foundation. More information is available by calling 541-310-7413 or online at PendletonArts.org.