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"Requiem for a Rainforest," visual artist Mandy Coppes-Martin works primarily with paper and pulp made of hemp, sisal, cotton rag and silk fibers.

This fall Sheehan Gallery on the Whitman College campus will feature two semester-long displays that will run from Aug. 28-Dec. 7, said Daniel Forbes, gallery director.

The Nature of a Stitch show will be in Sheehan’s main space with color and texture this fall.

Originally proposed by Walla Walla quilt artist Salli McQuaid, a juried member of the highly esteemed Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc. and a past WA State SAQA representative, this invitational exhibition features the work of 48 accomplished textile artists working from a wide variety of personal and professional backgrounds in the U.S. and abroad, including artists from Europe, South America and Japan, Forbes said.
 

Among those on view are Linda Gass’ vibrant aerial landscapes, Jette Clover’s minimal ecologies of words, Lura Schwarz Smith’s haunting interplays of human and geologic forms, Paula Chung’s mutating X-ray views of the body and BJ Adams’ poignant, humorous commentaries on technologies and modern life.

With thread and fabric as their media, all the artists utilize traditional and cutting-edge processes for quilting and embroidery to translate their reflections on internal and external, micro and macro, natural and urban environments into stunning works of visual art.

Forbes will give a curator’s talk on The Nature of a Stitch at 6 p.m. Nov. 30 in Olin 138.

In addition, Sheehan will host Requiem for a Rainforest: CPALI and Friends.

The multifaceted display was coordinated with the assistance of Catherine “Cay” Craig, formerly a professor of ecology and conservation at Yale and Harvard, now a senior research associate at Whitman.

In addition to academic endeavors, Craig is president and founder of Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International, which “works globally with rural farmers to develop sustainable livelihoods able to support both people and ecosystems.” /

The exhibit offers a variety of handmade textiles produced by CPALI’s Madagascar programs. In addition to creating sustainable handwoven plant-based textiles, CPALI’s Malagasy community also contains wild-silk farmers who raise native silkworm species that thrive on indigenous trees.

The cocoons of these silkworms are harvested, dyed and hand-sewn together in their raw form to produce extraordinary fabrics: exquisite textiles now being used globally by artists and designers in visual artworks, fashion, jewelry and housewares.

Accompanying these textiles is a rich didactic of photos and text explaining the CPALI program and Malagasy textile production processes. Requiem for a Rainforest also contains three micro-exhibits contained in Sheehan’s alcove galleries.

The first alcove features the work of Nick Garbutt, who studied zoology at Nottingham University and has gone on to become an award-winning wildlife photographer and author.

His Requiem display offers stunning field photographs of Madagascar’s diverse forests and their inhabitants, as well as captured images of the mass destruction of these environs.

In another alcove, a collection of striking black and white photo montages created by Safidy Andrian will be featured. A member of Madagascar’s Merina tribe of the central highlands, Andrian is a self-taught humanitarian photographer whose socially-based images have been featured in numerous publications including those of the National Geographic Society.

Within his micro exhibit Andrian has manipulated and combined his documentary-style photos to create a poetic visual introduction to some of the individuals whose lives are being changed by CPALI’s programs.

The last alcove highlights the ways CPALI’s Malgasy textiles are being used in the world, with a spotlight on South African visual artist Mandy Coppes-Martin. Coppes-Martin works primarily with paper and pulp made of hemp, sisal, cotton rag and silk fibers.

Her show offers pieces made specifically with Requiem for a Rainforest in mind.

Designer, CPALI associate and visiting educator Docey Lewis will give a talk at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 in Olin 138.

And Craig, guest curator, will talk about the art and science involved in the construction of Requiem for a Rainforest and of her work with CPALI at 3 p.m. Oct. 20 in Olin 138.

Sheehan is in Olin Hall on the Whitman campus. Admission is free. Gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment.

See whitman.edu/sheehan or call 509-527-5249 or 527-5992 for more details.