Even as I was working toward what turned out to be a very successful solo exhibition at Well Street Gallery in Fairbanks last month, I was pleased to have been invited to participate in an important group exhibition in Fairbanks that opens in August, titled "Our Boreal Forest." The exhibit, at the Bear Gallery in the Civic Center in Fairbanks, will include works by a number of accomplished artists and writers, reflecting on the great Northern forest that encircles the globe. I will be giving a lecture in conjunction with the exhibit on August 25 at 7 p.m. in the gallery, in which I'll talk about the way artists from Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and the Russian North have depicted this extraordinary ecosystem--the world's largest land-based biome and one that represents almost 30% of the earth's forest cover.
My two paintings in the show focus on two of the major trees in the Boreal Forest--birches and aspens. Nearly everyone who knows my work thinks of me as a painter not just of the boreal forest, but specifically of birch trees. Almost no one notices that I paint almost as many aspens as birches. Both these paintings are about the fact that these two similar-looking, but actually quite different and unrelated, trees are nevertheless boreal brethren, and that aspens are beautiful, too.
I'm also continuing to work with my friend, former Alaska Poet Laureate Peggy Shumaker, on the exhibition of my paintings and her poems that will open on September 11 at the Alaska Humanities Forum in Anchorage. I hope that many of you who see the images I've been posting of work for that show will be able to see the exhibition itself, but I know that many of you won't be able to get to Anchorage this September, so I will find some way, next month after it opens, to create an album on this site to give you some sense of the extraordinary "conversation" we've been in engaged in for the last year, with alternating poems and paintings. Darkness in the Path is my latest contribution to that now nearly yearlong exchange.