Tipton Gallery (ETSU) / 126 Spring St., Johnson City, TN February 27, 2017 - March 10, 2017

Lyn Govette

The ETSU Department of Art & Design and Slocumb Galleries in conjunction with the Urban Redevelopment Alliance and School of Graduate Studies present Es.sen.tial, an MFA exhibition by Lyn Govette. The exhibit runs from March 1 to 10, 2017, at the Tipton Gallery, with reception on First Friday, March 3, from 6-8 p.m.

Es-sen-tial is the culmination of Govette’s exploration of the changes of a place in Wise County, VA called Looney Ridge. This county has been devastated by the use of the extractive process called Mountain Top Removal (MTR) which is done to obtain the last available coal from the mountains in the Appalachian coal fields which can’t be obtained through traditional shaft mining. The photographic landscape serves as starting point to Govette’s multimedia fiber installations that “lay out for the viewer, a seduction of beauty that belies the devastation that humans have wrought on these mountains and valleys in the name of need, progress, of what is ‘vital’ to sustain us.”

The viewers are encouraged to weave their way through the ‘beauty strip’ composed of artificial tree-like installations, to the digitally printed photographic landscape images on textiles of what is left of Looney Ridge’s powerful yet broken presence. Govette admits to the subjectivity of her lens as a photographer and environmental activist, she stated, “there is complexity to this issue of coal mining; the impact of our human presence on the land, of the presence of coal has had on our lives and of the disappearance of coal, as a resource will have when it is gone. I chose to portray this issue by layering, piecing and stitching back into the digital images that I had printed on fiber.” She added, “it seemed fitting to use textiles, stitching, layering and quilting, as we are familiar with the use of fabric to cover ourselves for protection and warmth… as familiar as the use of fossil fuels in our collective lives for comfort and warmth.”

Tipton Gallery is located at 126 Spring St., Downtown Johnson City. Open Thursdays and Fridays 5 to 7 p.m., with extended hours on First Fridays/receptions, and by appointment. All events are free and open to public. For info, email Slocumb Galleries’ Director Karlota Contreras-Koterbay at contrera@etsu.edu or call/text 423.483.3179.