OPEN EVERY DAY 11am - 5pm. 1 Ashfield Street, Shelburne Falls, MA, 413-625-9833.

Featured Exhibit September-October 2023

CHRIS HILL, Nocturnal Landscapes: World of Soil, paintings

Self-taught artist and Turners Falls resident Chris Hill has been practicing acrylic painting and sculpture for many years. A previous career in soil science and an in-depth knowledge of plant and insect ecology informs his detailed visions of environmentally friendly agricultural compositions.

Nocturnal Landscapes is an ongoing series of surreal botanical paintings depicting cultivation in harmony with nature. Begun as a reaction against chemical-industrial agriculture, the series has evolved into a celebration of soil regeneration and ecosystem building. Each luminous canvas contains a surreal garden that has been tended by careful hands, nourished with compost and flush with microbial life. Among the crops that sprout forth, beneficial weeds, fungi, and insects abound.

In the artist’s words, “I’m humbled when I look closely at a square yard of field or forest growth. Within is likely contained dozens of species of plants of all sizes, ranging from tree saplings to miniscule, ancient bryophytes. There could be small animals, hundreds or thousands of small insects; millions of nematodes, protozoa, archaea, and algae; billions of fungi and bacteria. Interactions between each organism are specific and contribute to the continuation of the whole. The biomass represented by the bodies of those billions of organisms is a sustaining, renewable food bank. Compost and natural fertilizer put into this system can increase production and output. While synthetic chemical fertilizer and pesticide allow for great initial output, they quickly deplete the biomass and humus that often took centuries to create.

To appreciate the lowly flower that briefly blooms there and to understand that while this flower might be called a weed, innumerable organisms call it a home.”

LAURIE MILES, Artful Harvest, photographs

Artist and gardener Laurie Miles practices both at her home in Windsor, Massachusetts. After a long career in advertising, Laurie now practices fine art in a variety of media, strongly informed by her gardens and the natural world.

The Artful Harvest photographs come directly from sliced and arranged vegetables and plants. They are pressed, dried, and photographed to reveal the delicate patterns and structures that emerge during the drying process. In her own words:

“Material is the starting point for my work. I deconstruct and recombine materials to create new works. It’s an intuitive process that leads to explorations of pattern, texture and design.

My recent work involves a creative close-up of nature’s elegant line work. Delicate patterns mimic networks within our solar system, tree roots, even our own vascular systems. There’s much to take from nature for inspiration. I choose to wonder about what I can’t see.”

Laurie Miles has spent many years volunteering for organizations like The Massachusetts Trustees of Reservation and as a docent for the Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She has a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.