Curator Tina Green-Price and the Giustina Gallery staff have successfully matched art exhibits with each of Oregon State University's year-long grant festivals, from space to sea.

But this month's Sun Grant Festival proved to be particularly challenging.

The festival is focused on more than just the sun, it is about alternative energy sources and the planet, Green-Price says.

"I was afraid it would be a harder show to fill," she said. "When you do an open call to artists, it's always a little more difficult to know what you're going to get."

What they received for the exhibit, "Our Energy, Our Planet, Our Future," was more than 100 works by 40  regional artists. The exhibit, part of the university's Sun Grant Festival to mark OSU's 150th anniversary, is on display in Giustina Gallery at the LaSells Stewart Center. Other Sun Grant Festival events begin April 9.

Green-Price said she was concerned that the artwork would feel like a hodgepodge to viewers, but it started to come together once it was displayed.

"It makes sense as you walk around and look at all of the alternative options on energy and the planet," she said.

The exhibit includes photography, woodblock print, sculpture, acrylic, watercolor and oil painting, mixed media, collage, colored pencil, glass work, and fabric/fiber arts.

The featured artists, mostly from the mid-valley, display subjects that involve the use of wind, solar, and wave energy.

The largest piece in the exhibit is a painting with dark red and gold metallic paint titled "Sun" by Amy Gibson, an OSU student pursuing a bachelor in fine arts degree. It is from a group of four panels titled "Tribute," and each celebrates a different OSU grant: space, sea, sun and land. The sun painting is her first to be shown in the gallery.

"This was a great piece for the exhibit, because it has so much energy and life with the metallic paint and the way she's painted it," Green-Price said. "Her statement is she's put her life into this."

Wind energy was a common theme for several artists.

Corvallis artist Linda Edwards' paper sculpture, "Hawaii Wind-Sail Power," is one that stands out in the exhibit; it's a three-dimensional work featuring sailboats and waves.

Phillip Coleman of Philomath captured aerial photos of wind turbines, "An Aerial Dance" and "Catching the Wind," while photographer Rich Bergeman displays two pictures of wind farms in Washington state.

Artist Kate McGee shares a pastel/chalk illustration of a wind farm in the Columbia Gorge.

Adriana Huyer, an OSU professor emerita in the College of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, made kinetic energy with waves a focus in three of her acrylic paintings.

Solar power was an influence for one of the exhibit's more obscure pieces, an acrylic painting, "Dr. Frankenstein's Monster Goes Solar" by Michael Ousley of Langlois, Oregon. The bright red, yellow and orange painting features Frankenstein with an external LED attached to his forehead.

Corvallis artist Sue Noel's acrylic painting, "Food," shows a drop of water trickling down a plant stem. Inside the water drop it reads "Tiny yet potent, sun bathed phytoplankton are the food of life."

Fellow Corvallis painter David Mayfield shows an oil painting titled "Pacific Flyway: the Malheur," focusing on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Birds seek out the refuge and other high desert wetlands in Oregon during annual migration.

His artist statement reads: "Between 1950 and 2009, March temperatures increased 3.5 degrees at the refuge. The area has also experienced earlier snow runoff and higher water losses to evaporation. These conditions strain both natural and agricultural systems vying for the same water. Utilizing aerial photography, this painting shows a collision between pivot irrigation and wetlands. Light tones reflect hot, dry conditions, and loss of wetland habitat."

Other themes featured in the artwork include planting more trees, ocean recycling, recycled beach litter, sea turbines, Solstice, and light sources.

Shoshana McClarence's creative glass sculpture, "Ideal," is an example of a piece exploring the idea of light sources.  It is a glass vase holding CFL light bulbs atop glass stems.

The sun is also highlighted throughout the exhibit by several artists, including photographer John Ginn, woodblock print artist Kevin Clark, oil painter Howard Bruner and others.

Bruner's oil painting of a bright yellow sun illuminating a dark blue sky, "June," was used to market the exhibit, Green-Price said.

Susan Johnson of Corvallis used a medium called an oil bar, along with colored pencils to make a piece called "Nature's Energy-Sun, Sand and Surf."

An oil bar is like a grease crayon with color pigment that creates vibrant colors, Green-Price said.

Green-Price wants the Sun Grant art exhibit and festival to raise awareness about OSU's research efforts, as well as alternative forms of energy.

"Bringing the focus of what OSU is doing to impact the future of our planet is what the celebration of the Sun Grant and what the show is about, as well as the artists," she said.


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