Beyond Despair: An Environmental Call for Art | National Humanities Center

On Exhibit

Beyond Despair: An Environmental Call for Art

March 8, 2019

Knic Umstead, “Lady Slipper”
Knic Umstead, “Lady Slipper”

March 4–June 30, 2019

Exhibition Reception and Panel Discussion: Wednesday, March 27, 6:00–8:00 p.m.

When faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, a common human response is to fall into a resigned paralysis. We look for someone smarter, richer, or braver who will solve our problems and save the day, and in doing so we liberate ourselves from a sense of personal responsibility. Moving past this feeling of helplessness is a crucial step for the future of our planet, and it is imperative that we find ways in which we can become more accountable citizens of the global environment. One of the first steps in the transition from frightened bystanders to impassioned advocates is to foster a personal kinship with the world around us.

Beyond Despair gallery
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The artists in this exhibition explore relationships with nature in many ways, from meditations on what we have and stand to lose, to evidence of the impacts we have already made on our environment. Far from depictions of horrific scenes or propaganda, these pieces are quiet invitations that ask the viewer to consider beauty, land, and loss. They are unflinching mirrors and humane elegies that create a space for deliberation and ask us to shake off the dust of inactivity and move beyond despair.
Works in this exhibit have been selected by juror Joshua White. White joined artists Claire Alexandre, Justin Cook, Daniel Kariko, and Anne Willson for a panel discussion about the show as part of the exhibition reception on March 27th.

Joshua White is an assistant professor of art at Appalachian State University. In his own artistic work, White uses photography, sculpture, and digital technology to address themes of memory, loss, science, and nature. His work has been published by National Geographic and featured by Wired, Mother Nature Network, Scientific American, Don’t Take Pictures, The Hand, and Gizmodo. Joshua has also participated in numerous solo exhibitions across the United States, as well as in many national and international juried exhibitions. He received his MFA from Arizona State University and lives and works in West Jefferson, NC.
Beyond Despair: An Environmental Call for Art is presented in partnership with the Visual Art Exchange as part of an ongoing program to feature the work of artists living and working in North Carolina.