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"Aftershock" exhibit explores the inspiration behind disaster

ASU art graduate student Camila Galofre showcases different insights on natural disasters and nature


Camila Galofre, art graduate student and curator of the Aftershock Exhibition, poses with the artwork at the Step Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.

 The effects of natural disasters aren't only physical, but emotional for artists involved in the "Aftershock" exhibit. 

Camila Galofre, an ASU art graduate student, curated "Aftershock," which will run until Oct. 7 at the Step Gallery at Grant Street Studios.

The purpose of the exhibition is to showcase the different ways in which artists interpret natural disasters. 

Galofre picked each of the artists because they found inspiration in disaster and nature, and found ways to express these different themes. 

“I wanted it to be a little bit more intimate, or I wanted to have a connection with the artist,” she said. 

"Using nature to make beautiful artwork." Illustration published on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.

All the artists in the exhibition already had a personal connection to nature, and were creating art revolving around this topic prior to the show. 

“They all deal with this idea of environmental conflict, and consequences, landscape, trauma,” Galofre said. “They all work within this realm of science and ecology, and so that’s what I wanted to bring in.”

Galofre interprets natural disasters differently, and turns these interpretations into various art forms. 

“There's something really poetic about a tsunami or earthquake hitting a human civilization and destroying it in seconds," Galofre said. 

Galofre said her family is from Ecuador, where an earthquake struck two years ago.

"That kind hit home, and as an artist I was thinking of how I could help through art," she said.

Susan Beiner, an ASU associate professor of art, was one of the featured artists. The art she submitted for the exhibition is a ceramic piece that shows the relationship between humans and nature. 

My work is a little different in terms of natural disasters, but it certainly can be considered that,” Beiner said. 

The art piece is supposed to symbolize the possible future of genetically modified plants, especially edible ones, Beiner said. 

“I believe it’s somehow compromising the natural structure of plants, in terms of how we eat, therefore possibly changing us,” Beiner said.

The ambiguity of the future, specifically that of nature, allowed Beiner to explore the concept artistically. 

“I think it’s a natural disaster in a different kind of way, it’s more subliminal, and it’s not a direct relationship to mother nature, it’s more of a relationship between humanity and mother nature,” Beiner said.

Anthony Pessler, an associate professor of art, said he submitted three small paintings which depicted his different personal experiences with nature. 

“My inspiration comes from nature, one of the driving forces behind my work is to put these images out into the world that act like little odes or little love poems to the natural world,” Pessler said. 

Pessler said his connection with nature comes from his concerns with things such as overpopulation, climate change and habitual destruction.

“All those things are kind of drivers of my work in a way, so it seemed to be a really good fit when Camila asked me to be in the show,” Pessler said.

He said by simply slowing down and spending time with nature, people can gain a better understanding and sensibility towards it. 

“All the lessons we need to learn about creating a sustainable world are out in nature,” Pessler said. 

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