Wendy Copp and Jessica Mongeon share a love of exploring the natural world and humanity’s place within it through their art.
“Forest for the Trees,” Freeform Art Space’s new show opening on June 9, brings together Copp’s 3D pieces using materials gathered from trees and fields with Mongeon’s acrylic paintings on eco-friendly tree-free paper made out of calcium carbonate and resin.
“My works in the show-a pair of coyotes, a coat, a pine needle dress, a pair of boots and a small cape-represent a range of my interests,” explains Copp. “The reason for my ongoing use of natural materials include the texture variations they offer, the life cycle, history and evolution they inform us of, the passing of time they embody and the beauties of nature inherent in them. They also allow me to bring the wild inside so that nature is showcased.”
Copp’s coyotes are part of a series she’s been creating about predators and prey. The idea for making the pine needle dress and cape came from her personal life.
“My mother, who was an opera singer, was dying and I wanted to honor her by remaking dresses she performed in,” Copp adds. “She was in a nursing home and desperately missed being outside. I made a large cape of leaves she could lie beneath and feel connected to the earth.”
Mongeon’s paintings come from two series she’s been working on during the past several years. In one series, she depicts human neurons on the same scale as lichen or roots.
“Like lichen, which is made of a fungus, alga and often a yeast that work in symbiosis, neurons must connect and communicate to keep the mind and body alive,” she says. “By acknowledging our embodiment of nature, perhaps we can care for the ecosystems that sustain us as much as we care for our own bodies.”
Two of Mongeon’s small works in the show from her second series are abstract rice paper collages on watercolor paper that refer to forested environments.
Freeform Art Space has scheduled a special closing event for the show from 4 to 5 p.m. on June 24.