BC Presents “Thinking Like a Mountain"
BC Presents “Thinking Like a Mountain:” Creative Expression of Concern for the Appalachian Mountains Art Exhibit
March 1, 2012
“Thinking Like a Mountain” is an art exhibit now on display in Lansdell Hall through April 14, the date of a closing reception at 2:00-3:00 p.m.
The exhibit is a part of BC’s "A Celebration of Appalachia,” which features lectures, concerts, exhibits, discussions, movies, theatre, tours, and other educational and entertaining activities dedicated to celebrating and reflecting on the rich heritage and culture that the Appalachian Mountains offer. The celebration began in October 2011 and continues through the 2012 spring semester.
Artwork on display at the exhibit
“Thinking Like a Mountain” is designed for viewers to reflect and honor their environment and the home that the mountains have provided them. The art seeks to reflect on coal mining, mountain-top removal, and strip mining of the Appalachian Mountains and how those operations have altered the mountains, the environment, and the people who call the mountains home.
The exhibit is a collection of paintings, sculptures, poems and song lyrics that celebrate the distinct culture and heritage of the Appalachian Mountains.
Linda Shroyer, wife of BC art professor Walter Shroyer, was the main liaison for the exhibit as she was in a show at SVCC last year with the same title.
“I grew up a city-girl, in Atlanta, Ga.,” said Shroyer. “However, having lived in the Bluefield, Va., area for over 20 years, I’ve grown to love my community’s deeply rooted history in coal mining.”
Featured artist Ellen Elmes is showing her watercolor painting, “It’s Our Choice.”
“My painting is an attempt to raise awareness,” said Elmes. “It’s centered on the wealth of our beauty, substance, and wildlife that our mountain forests nurture.”
“Thinking Like a Mountain” includes several works by artist Jamie Ryan Powers, but his most popular piece is an acrylic painting entitled, “Godzilla West Virginia, 2010.”
“This work is my response to the arrogance and greediness of the coal, timber, and gas companies and to the immense violation--rape, if you will--of the oldest mountains and forests on the continent,” said Powers.
Seeing a large painting of “Godzilla” taking over West Virginia had one student observer terrified.
“It’s very intriguing and pulls me in, but it scares me,” said freshman Katie Lawson.
Suzanna Stryk has left a “tattoo” on the art exhibit by showing her mixed media painting, “Coal Tatoo.”
“And just as a tattoo can’t easily be removed, coal has stamped Appalachia with an indelible identity,” said Stryk.
“Orchard Intrigue,” an oil painting by Billy Edd Wheeler, captures the rhythm of the mountains.
“I approach painting as I do writing a song, or playing tennis, writing a poem, driving a nail, or dancing,” said Wheeler. “There’s a rhythm to everything. A great deal of my pondering is, and always has been, about my beloved mountains and how their profiles have been corrupted and their rhythm’s violated.”
BC students get a chance to view the exhibit and reflect on how the Appalachian Mountains have affected today’s society.
“I'm really glad I got to see the ‘Thinking Like a Mountain show,’” said Celia Jones, a senior from Brookneal, Va. “I'm not a local, so I was unfamiliar with the issue until I came to Bluefield, but it’s obvious that mountain-top removal is a source of a lot of controversy and debate, so it is interesting to see how that same passion translates into artwork.”
Not only does the exhibit focus on exposing a particular heritage, it shows various artistic talents.
“It’s really great to see such talent,” said history major Morgan Lloyd. “The artwork is beautiful and awesome to look at. I could stand there for hours just looking at the different artwork.”
For more information about “Thinking Like a Mountain” or “A Celebration of Appalachia,” visit http://www.bluefield.edu/article/bc-continues-celebration-of-appalachia-symposium/ .