A living exhibit; art evolves through domino effect

An art exhibit called The Ecology of Desire: A Creative Current Exhibit will open Feb. 20 in Moscow, Idaho. The exhibit is a collaboration featuring 20 artists and 21 poets around the Palouse.

The idea for this exhibit came from local artists Laurel Macdonald and Georgia Tiffany. Macdonald said she had seen this type of exhibit before in New Zealand and thought she should bring it to the Palouse.

The project started in March and developed during a nine month period. Macdonald and Tiffany began asking artists they knew if they would be interested in creating a piece for the exhibit. The artists each had a week to create a piece of work and turn it in.

The exhibit will be on display in the Third Street Gallery in Moscow City Hall. The exhibit runs Thursday Feb. 20 to April 16. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The opening day will have a poetry reading from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and a reception from 5-7 p.m. There will be a publication with all of the artists’ works in chronological order as they were created. The publication will also talk more about the individual projects created by the artists. The book is now sold though Book People of Moscow. All profits go to Book People.

“I didn’t want just university people involved,” Macdonald said. “I wanted a variety of community people.  The end result is that some of the poets and artists are associated with the universities, but others are not.  That’s the mix I wanted.”

The exhibit will start with one poet’s work and then switch to a visual piece of work done by another artist. Each artist’s contribution to the collection will be an extension of the piece that was before theirs.

A poem titled “The Lover of Lakes,” by poet Ron McFarland, that is about a woman’s path through life, starts off the exhibit. The next piece will be a drawing titled “The Swimmer,” by artist George Wray. Each piece of art is a rippling affect, working off the one before it.

“It’s interesting to see how the pieces change and morph and how they influence the next person’s that came after,” Arts Assistant DJ Scallorn said.

Scallorn said this exhibit is a great way for the city to give back to the community.

“It’s a way for local artist to showcase their work in a gallery and for a poet to showcase their work in a different format,” Scallorn said.

According to Macdonald, this exhibit is not your typical art exhibit because the poems will take time for the viewer to study and unravel. Since each work of art and poetry maneuver so well together she said she’s expecting the community to respond positively to the exhibit.

 “I hope people enjoy the experience,” she said. “I’m sure everyone realizes what a wealth of talent we have in the Palouse. This exhibit demonstrates that.”

Scallorn added that introducing poets and artists together in this project was nice because an artist can illustrate their thoughts into a visual representation. She said it was great seeing the collaboration with one work and seeing the creativity when the collection starts to go along.

“I love the continuity, fluidity, the chronological development of ideas, and the quirky responses between artist and poet and poet and artist,” Macdonald said. “It’s so curious to see how an artist interpreted or responded to a poem.”

 One of the main objectives for this project was for poets and artist to connect. Macdonald said she was a great example of someone who had lived in the Palouse and knew many artists but very few poets even though there are many in the community.

“We have similar professions: we both create works of art, work at expressing ourselves, try to make meaning through the use of symbols and imagery,” Macdonald said.