Markeim Arts Center is thrilled to present the exhibition “Water, Fire, Ice” to mark the kickoff of the Center’s 2018 calendar of exhibitions, classes, and events. The exhibition will be on display from January 9 through February 2, and will be celebrated at the Markeim Center’s annual fundraising Gala on Saturday, January 27, 2018.
Two locally-born artists, Deborah Garwood and Mark Lennon, have prepared a selection of photographs and paintings to celebrate “Water, Fire, Ice” in the Markeim’s exhibition space at 104 Walnut Street in Haddonfield, NJ. “Water, Fire, Ice” takes its theme from the beauty that can be found in some of nature’s most powerful and creative forces. Water can devastate communities, but it can create a Grand Canyon. Fire can ravage landscapes; but it sustains of some of our most beautiful, such as the Pine Barrens. Ice can grind mountains to dust, but it can create a Yosemite. At the same time water, fire, and ice are among the most ephemeral of artistic subjects: water moves and moves on; fire is nothing more than glowing gas in the instant of self-destruction; ice forms, melts, and disappears. Markeim Arts Center inaugurates its programming for 2018 with an exhibition that celebrates the power of these elemental forces to form and re-form the natural world around us, and to unleash creativity in the artists and supporters of Markeim’s talented community.
Ms. Garwood and Mr. Lennon attended middle and high school together in Haddonfield. As adults, they came to share a passion for art and environmental sustainability. Ms. Garwood’s family has lived and farmed in South Jersey for more than 300 years. She grew up imbued with an appreciation for the agricultural and natural landscapes that surround and support us, and this background informs her 20-year project on the legacy of a Colonial-era millpond in Haddonfield. Mr. Lennon skipped school to attend the first Earth Day in Philadelphia, and since then has pursued environmentalism as a career, and the outdoors as the source of his greatest pleasures. Ms. Garwood and Mr. Lennon re-met a ten years ago, and this exhibition is the fruit of the discovery of their shared interests.
Deborah Garwood is an artist, author, and information professional long based in New York, and recently resettled in Haddonfield. Her works in photography and painting for “Water, Fire, Ice” relate to her ongoing project about Evans Pond, on the border of Haddonfield and Cherry Hill. Ms. Garwood writes,
In 1997, I initiated an open-ended study of Evans Pond. Formed when Irish Quakers dammed a narrow juncture along the Cooper River at the turn of the 17th Century, it provided waterpower to early colonists and became a thriving millpond in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Also used for recreation and religious rites, Evans Pond in the New Deal era was preserved as parkland and actively used for much of the 20th century. It is a quiet, nearly forgotten place in the 21st Century.
I’ve documented its resilience utilizing photographic and moving imagery, while also studying vintage photographs, social memory records held in Haddonfield archives collections, and environmental data. My method has been to take pictures on a monthly basis using a variety of vintage and modern cameras, working in color as well as black and white.
“Water, Fire, Ice” includes recent photographs of Evans Pond dating from October 2016 to November 2017 and specially created for the Markeim Arts Center’s 2018 Gala. The vantage points are Evans Mill Road and the trail leading from Roberts Avenue access road. Several were shot on color negative film that I scanned and processed in Photoshop, while others are born digital images. Inspired by the Gala’s theme, I also created three paintings that reflect my physical experiences of Evans Pond as well as my photographs of the site.
Mark Lennon is an environmental entrepreneur and photographer based in New London, NH. In his environmental career, he takes usable surplus furnishings from American schools and corporations and provides them to nonprofits for disaster relief and economic development in the U.S. and around the world. Of his second career as a photographer, Mr. Lennon writes:
“Incredible images are all around us, so much that is striking and beautiful, so much incredible art. What I love is to get out into the woods and lakes and mountains and get into a space where my eyes open to see all the great art that is there for the seeing. And on a good day, to capture some small part of it and make it accessible in a way I can take home and share.
“My great concern is that we are losing contact with the natural world. It is all around us, but it has faded into the background. Most of us don’t see it. I don’t really care if my images are beautiful. I do hope they are arresting, in the sense that they will get people who see them to stop and say “Wow, that’s out there?” And perhaps, after that, to be a little more open to seeing and discovering themselves the natural beauty and mystery that is all around us.
“The “Water, Fire, Ice” images for the Markeim Gala are representative of this interest. They are not Photoshopped or otherwise manipulated. They are simply pictures of what the natural world has to offer us, every day, every minute, every second, if we will just stop to see it.
All proceeds of this exhibition benefit the Markeim Arts Center, and are tax deductible. Please contact the gallery for further information.