By Laurelle Walsh
Mary Lou McCollum began thinking about tracks as she went on her daily walks along Wolf Creek Road near Winthrop. “Alongside the road I was seeing garbage, dried-up snake skins, cigarette butts, and I started thinking about what has been here before … the tracks of what humans leave behind,” she said.
Now, as curator of Confluence Gallery’s new exhibit, “Tracks,” McCollum’s idea of what tracks are has expanded, she said.
Works in the show explore the tracks left by a bulldozer after forest fire, human and animal footprints, tracks in the landscape, even ways to track your future.
“Tracks” opens at Confluence Gallery & Art Center on Saturday (Jan. 10) with an opening reception from 4-8 p.m.
Thirty artists have contributed their work to the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 14.
Seattle artist Janet Fagan’s mono print titled “Quiet” depicts an owl in flight among bare tree branches. “I consider every encounter I have with an owl to be a gift,” Fagan said. “They always appear when I am not looking for them and my sightings of them weave through the narrative of my life like living signposts.”
Photographer Ken Smith captures intricate designs left by bark beetles on the trunk of a ponderosa pine.
Jennifer Molesworth interprets tracks literally in her whimsically painted floor mats on which animal paw prints are scattered.
The artist goes deeper in her multi-media painting of dollar bills embedded in bare human footprints. In “Corporate Track,” Molesworth explores the meaning of money as speech, and corporations as people, she said. “The tracks left by money are all around us, left on every precious thing,” Molesworth said.
Bellingham artist Trish Harding’s paintings of women with dragon tattoos reveal the tracks that are left on human skin. One, called “Feed the Dragon,” takes on a subject that some gallery-goers may find disturbing: a woman in the act of injecting a needle into her needle-tracked arm.
Although two-dimensional work dominates the exhibit, glass sculpture, wood carvings, furniture and metal work also explore the theme of tracks.
Jewelry maker Joanne Maracci designed a “compass ring that allows the wearer to track the future,” McCollum said. A silver-mounted rainbow pyrite stone spins atop the ring and points the way: north, south, east and west.
Another piece by Maracci is a broad leather cuff studded with stones set in silver that wraps around the wrist. “It’s like a Wonder Woman bracelet that gives you super powers,” exclaimed gallery director Salyna Gracie when she tried it on.
Also opening at Confluence this week is an exhibit curated by Liberty Bell High School student Holly Radwick. The show, titled “Open Call,” is Radwick’s senior project, for which she invited her peers to display their artwork alongside her own in the gallery’s back hall and “Loovre.”
Confluence Gallery & Art Center is located at 104 Glover St. in Twisp. The gallery’s regular hours are Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information call 997-2787 or go to www.confluencegallery.com.