Peeler exhibition examines mankind's interactions with nature

Jeila Gueramian's latch hook rug titled "This Is How Magic Is Done" catches the viewers eye immediately with its bright colors and serene mountain landscape. CAROLINE KNIGHT / THE DEPAUW

    At DePauw’s newest exhibition, viewers can peer through the lens of New York City artists as they evaluate the intricacies of humanity’s tumultuous relationship with nature.

    Now through May 11, the Peeler Art Gallery will be hosting “Nature Loves Courage,” an exhibition showcasing ten emerging artists and their views on mankind’s interactions with the natural world.

    Most of the exhibitions at Peeler are curated outside of DePauw and selected to be shown at the University. Original exhibitions curated by DePauw faculty or students take two to four years to prepare, so it’s easier and more practical for Peeler to book traveling shows.

    Craig Hadley, the director and curator of exhibitions at DePauw, said that he and his colleagues strive to select shows for Peeler that will be applicable to interdisciplinary fields. Because the shows come from outside of DePauw, students get to see artists from new areas and get a glimpse of art scenes that they wouldn’t normally see.

    The message of the pieces is easy to appreciate, making them appealing to non-art majors. Hadley emphasized the importance of honing analytical skills when analyzing art, just as with any other skill. “You don’t need to be an art major to learn how to look critically,” Hadley said. “When we don’t know how to respond to something, sometimes our initial reaction is negative.”

    First-year student Miguel Suarez was drawn to the exhibition because of its uniqueness. He felt called to action by the pieces he saw.  “I feel like it’s very relevant because not a lot of us pay attention to how the environment is being destroyed, so we just turn the other way.” Suarez said. “We need to address these issues.”

    Often, shows are planned two to three years in advance, so the curators have no idea what will be happening in the world when the exhibit is shown. However, Hadley felt that “Nature Loves Couragecame at an opportune time due to the tense political climate surrounding environmental issues in the United States and the exhibition spurs people to think about their relationships with the environment.

    “Nature Loves Courage” showcases emerging artists in the New York City art scene. According to the description available on the exhibition’s website, “The exhibition features artists who investigate the processes through which nature is manipulated and mediated - living in it, changing it, improving it, and fighting it.”

    People feel the connections between humanity and the natural world, which allows for them to relate to the art more. The relationship between humankind and nature is evident in the pieces, making the pieces easy to connect to. “I think that every visitor who walks in there could find at least one piece that maybe they can relate to,” Hadley said, “or at least gets them thinking about their personal relationship to the environment.”

    Non-art students don’t always visit Peeler, but exhibitions like “Nature Loves Courage” are designed so that the non-art major student can experience the art. First-year Quinn Keegan was impressed with the exhibition, and she wished that more people would come see it.

    “I feel like a lot of people don’t even know it’s there” Keegan said. “A lot of people don’t even know that there’s actually cool art that you can see.”