Art connects with nature in new exhibit

Gwyneth Scally, a painter based out of New York City, whose artwork is currently on display at Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Kipp Gallery, showcases her ability to blend psychology and nature into forms. (Ashley Meredith/ The Penn)

Gwyneth Scally – a painter, drawer and sculptor based out of New York City – is showcasing her blend of psychological and nature-centered artwork at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Kipp Gallery during March.

Scally shared her artwork, style, in­spirations and passion with a classroom full of guests on Thursday night that included students, professors and Indi­ana residents alike.

Scally said her work is deeply rooted in the fight between humanity and na­ture. More specifically, she spoke about the fight that we, as a culture, engage in within ourselves of connecting with na­ture while having no idea what nature truly is in today’s day and age.

She said we have only a romanticized idea of nature.

We buy North Face jackets worth hundreds of dollars, tents that can serve as second homes and a whole host of other “necessities” in order to go out into the wilderness and reconnect, she said, though these are all luxuries our ancestors never had, and they survived for millennia.

As the title of the showcase, “Chil­dren of the Romantic Age,” would sug­gest, we are living in a period of roman­ticized ideas of the natural world, Scally said. In a previous interview with the Charleston City Paper, Scally reflected on the way we “conceptualize nature.”

She said that since we are no lon­ger living in the days when we hunted our own food, made our homes of natural constructs or even have the same connection we once had with mother Earth, we have lost the meaning of what it is to genuinely experience nature.

“The need to recreate nature is what my art is about,” Scally said.

Her works show a consistent mixture of nature or wildness and modern struc­tures or constructs. Her art is eminently visual and thought provoking.

One main message Scally said she wanted to get across to the audience is that she believes we have a longing to get back to nature.

She noted that at one time wearing fur pelt hats was the “in” thing to do.

She would see hipsters walking around wearing these hats thinking they probably had no idea what went into making that hat or what that hat truly symbolizes.

“The notion of the … accessibility to nature or wanting to be there more and kind of yearning for that comes through very clearly in [Scally’s] work,” professor of fine art Christopher McGinnis said.

One example of this is one of her paintings titled “Evening in the Last Canyon” that shows a man kissing a wolf in a forest setting.

Scally’s work also addresses human­ity destroying natural environments and leaving them worse off than when we found them. One example of this may be her depiction of a bear lying down with what seems to be a wilting tree fad­ing into the backdrop of the modern Washington, D.C., subway system, the metro, which is titled “Ursa Major II.”

While art is always open to interpre­tation, she said in her presentation that she is pro-conservation, and her work is reflective of the social issues we face in the Americas and all over the world.

Her work is advocating for reconnecting to the natural world while making sure the future generations have one to reconnect to.

The Kipp Gallery will be showing Scally’s artwork from March 6 through the 27 for free. Kipp Gallery is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 12-4 p.m.