Building Today’s Community

Today Maryhill Museum of Art develops community interactions utilizing visual art in the way Mr. Hill and his contemporaries first envisioned approximately 100 years ago. One community arts endeavor, entitled The Exquisite Gorge, continues this August. Similar to 2019’s Exquisite Gorge I project, this year’s artists are depicting the same 220 mile stretch of the Columbia River as three dimensional sculptures rather than the original event’s two dimensional prints.

The public is invited to Maryhill’s various sculpting related activities on Saturday, August 6, 2022. Because this year’s artists are sculpting with textiles, the August 6 events will include a sheep to shawl demonstration, contemporary sculptor’s presentations, a yarn bombing activity at Stonehenge Memorial and more. Once the day’s activities are complete, The Exquisite Gorge II exhibit will remain on display at the museum until the end of August.

Prior to this sculptural exhibition, the Maryhill Education Director, Lou Palermo, found and paired each invited sculptor with a specific organization. This allowed each sculptor to interact within specific communities along the Columbia River – from the Snake to the Willamette – thereby extending this project’s original mission to build community beyond the museum’s physical location near Goldendale, Washington.

Maryhill is known for its sculptures by French artist Auguste Rodin. His sculptures often illustrate physical connections to emotions portrayed via the human form (for example, The Thinker). Physical connections to emotions are also the intent behind the Exquisite Gorge II project, but instead of sculpting the human form as Rodin so often did, each contemporary artist is depicting connections utilizing the physical aspects of the Columbia River to their own, various, emotional connections.

My own sculpture will portray the river as it flows between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon and visually align to the next artist’s section, keeping with The EG I project. All ten sections and the frontispiece are designed to be interconnected by the Columbia River, but the interior of each sculpture will feature each artist’s unique talents in the medium of the fiber arts. For example, some artists are weaving their sculpture while other artists are felting, crocheting quilting, or in my case, stitching and embroidering.  All of the sculptures will have a single contiguous image of the river while featuring a multitude of influences across the regional as well as within the fiber arts.

Most museum exhibits require at least two years to develop and I am happy to learn that The Exquisite Gorge III project is currently in its development stage.

For more information visit Exquisite Gorge Project 2022 – Maryhill Museum of Art