ROCHESTER – We may not want to imagine it, but visualizing climate change is getting easier. Unfortunately. The effects of human activities on the planet are visible as widespread droughts, heat waves and wildfires become more severe and more frequent.
Artist and musician Layne Noser brings together over two dozen artists to help visualize climate change and their reactions to it.
“Rochester Looking at Climate Change” opens at the Rochester Art Center on Friday, September 9, 2022.
“It’s a topic that concerns all of us right now,” Noser said.
Noser said he has been working for about four years to organize an art exhibition on climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the effort. The artists’ enthusiasm to use their work to say something about the subject and the cooperation of the Art Center ultimately helped make the exhibition a reality, he said.
Noser said he wasn’t surprised that so many artists wanted to be part of the show. Art has always been a means of articulating the inexpressible or making sense of the senseless.
“What we do is present things visually in a way that expresses feelings and thoughts that are hard to put into words,” he said.
It’s also their way of doing something about a problem that seems insurmountable, Pat Dunn-Walker said. Dunn-Walker helps organize the show and has contributed to it as well.
“I think art that affects change is what every artist hopes for,” she said.
“Hopefully maybe people will see something and change what they’re doing personally,” Noser said.
The effect is what Amarama Vercnocke said they hope their polar bear sculpture will have. Vercnocke was putting the finishing touches on the piece in the second-floor gallery while Dunn-Walker and Noser hung other works of art.
“I want to have the impact of ‘Oh, that’s cute,’ and then ‘Oh, my god,'” they said.
Animals elicit emotional reactions in people, which is why Vercnocke chose animals for their sculptures in the exhibition.
Dunn-Walker and Noser created multimedia pieces for the show. Dunn-Walker’s acrylic, reminiscent of a seascape by William Turner, illustrates the toxicity that bodies of water now carry. Noser’s band, The Midnight Hounds, will perform at the show’s opening event which runs from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, September 9. Meagan Kleven and John Sievers will also perform live.
The curators paired 90 pieces with 65 from 28 artists for the show.
Putting the effects of climate change in visual form isn’t new, and climatologists say it helps people understand the significance of trends already observed, said Pete Boulay, climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ climate office. . A climate quilt was on display at the Minnesota State Fair last year, Boulay said.
“It’s a way of exploring and interpreting a lot of information,” he said.
What: Rochester in the face of climate change
Where: Rochester Art Center, 30 Civic Center Drive Southeast
When: 5 p.m., Friday, September 9, 2022.