NEW In the Galleries – eARThworks 2012: art for an endangered planet "When one tugs at a single string in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." This quote from naturalist John Muir, which artist Mary Beth Shaw cites as the impetus for her intricate mixed-media collage, aptly describes the spirit of the annual eARThworks exhibition as a whole. For the fourth iteration of this benefit for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, 60 local artists have contributed works that reflect on their relationship to nature, which ranges fluidly from the observantly anthropological to the impressionistically abstract. Photographs of birds and meticulously painted landscapes hang alongside more experimental works that see their muse more obliquely. Tony Renner daubed watercolor paint on paper and let a light rain do the "brushwork." Joe Chesla riffs on the early photographic "salt print" technique, crystallizing sodium and chloride with iron to leave small rusty marks on a sheet of paper. Nancy Newman Rice's print Blue Rockwell imbues a Southwestern bluff with shades of Gothic-era stained glass, whereas fellow photographer Hilary Hitchcock draws out the saturated hues of locally grown radishes. Brothers Peter, Paul and Stephen Shank each contribute a single small, painted work of exceptional delicacy, integrating geometric forms with more organic motifs. The range of media goes on and on — from milled-wood sculptures to lamps made with discarded parts to quilts, ceramics and recycled-glass pieces. The natural world as a vital source is threaded throughout, whether manifested in reflection, materials, activist angst or graphic form. At the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Boulevard. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat. Editor's note: The show closes on Saturday, December 1, with a gala from 6 to 9 p.m. featuring an auction of select works (see http://bit.ly/So5dyS).
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