Innovative Environmental Artists Come to Colorado State University

Colorado State University will host an exhibition by Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, artists whose international projects focus on remediating environmental degradation.

The exhibition, titled "The Serpentine Lattice," brings the disappearing North American Pacific Coast temperate rain forest into the public eye. The show runs Jan. 31 through March 3 at the Hatton Gallery in the Visual Arts Building on campus. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m and Saturday 1-4 p.m. In conjunction with the exhibition there will be a public lecture by the artists at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Lory Student Center Theatre. The exhibition and lecture are free and open to the public.

The Harrisons are known for work that calls for co-evolution of bio-diversity and cultural diversity. "The Serpentine Lattice" is an installation that includes a slide mural of the disappearing Pacific Coast temperate rain forest, where 95 percent of the old growth has been harvested and clear cutting has left nearly 75,000 miles of damaged streams and rivers. The installation also includes a hand-drawn map, text and forest image photo panels, each aimed at exposing neglect and degradation of the environment and at developing prevention strategies.

The Harrisons began their collaboration in 1971. The pair’s "Survival Series" launched their acclaimed career and included the first use of an ecosystem as the subject of an artistic piece. Both artists are professors emeritus from the department of visual arts at the University of California San Diego. They have backgrounds in psychology, literature and philosophy. Helen has also studied anthropology and Newton has also studied figurative sculpture and field painting.

The Harrisons’ work has been the subject of many book chapters, articles, reviews and catalogs, and their exhibitions have included "A Vision for the Green Heart of Holland," commissioned by the Cultural Council of Southern Holland and the Province of South Holland; "California Wash," commissioned by the city of Santa Monica; "Underground-Overground Seep," commissioned by the art gallery of the University of Colorado at Boulder; "A Promenade ‘Ecologique’ for Cergy-Pontoise," commissioned by the Minister of Culture for the Ring Cities in Paris and the City Planning Department of Cergy-Pontoise; "Ruminations on the Open Pit Mines at Bitterfield," invited by the Chamber of Architects of Hessen; and "Future Garden and the Endangered Meadows of Europe," commissioned by the Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in Bonn, Germany.

The Harrisons’ visit to Colorado State is part of the Critic and Artist Residency Series, a program founded in 1997 with an anonymous $1 million endowment given to the art department. The program was developed by the art department as a way to put students, faculty and the community in touch with the latest creative thinking and practices in the art world.

For more information, contact the Hatton Gallery at (970) 491-1989.