Callas explores the ‘Ecological Self’

Aug 15, 2014
“Green Man” is among the sculptures by Kimberly Callas on view at Unity College Center for the Performing Arts.

Unity — An exhibit titled “Portrait of the Ecological Self” by Maine artist Kimberly Callas is featured in the Leonard Craig Art Gallery through Sept. 12. The gallery is located at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, 42 Depot St. (off Route 202).

A reception will be held Tuesday, Sept. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. with a PechaKucha-style artist presentation at 6 p.m. PechaKucha is of Japanese origin and features 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total).

A 2013 grant award by The Puffin Foundation provided support for the development of “Portrait of the Ecological Self.” The exhibit examines the question of whether there is an ecological self, or a place within each individual that is in tune with nature. The concept of the ecological self allows one to think in terms of the self as interconnected with all of nature.

“When considering the theory that there is a part of us that (innately) remembers we are of the natural world, not separate from it, I set off to find those connections through art,” said Callas. “My hope was that if we could access our ecological selves, we could find ways to live within nature’s patterns, cycles and limits.”

Convinced that science alone would not offer the insights she was seeking, Callas combined scientific observation with religious practice and researched her first subject: herself. She spent mornings researching symbols from nature that are significant to the psyche, such as circle, center, sun, mountain and cave. She then would pray, using meditative writing techniques. In this way, she prepared herself for afternoon sculpting sessions.

Callas, who has been rigorously trained in classical figurative sculpture, said she  succeeded in releasing the good that comes from personal attachments to nature. Such personal experience leads to action in the form preservation and conservation of the natural world or sustainable solutions to ensure a viable planet in perpetuity, she believes. She also was influenced by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the war in Iraq.

“I witnessed the attack and collapse of the World Trade Center while walking to my studio,” Callas said. That and the war in Iraq led her, her husband and young child to relocate to Brooks, where they handbuilt an in-ground, stone house that is off-the-grid and heated solely with wood.

Callas’ work has been exhibited both in the United States and internationally. For more information, visit kimberlycallas.com. The Craig Gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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