A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
This suite of collagraphs explores our frayed relationship with the natural world, in particular, the harm done to frogs and other amphibians as a result of human contamination of their habitats. Many species that contribute to this fragile web we call life are threatened; the world-wide decline in frogs and an “explosion in amphibian deformities” came to my attention when I read an article in the National Geographic on the “Sixth Extinction.” I drew my own “web” using liquid mediums that I mixed so they would harden into a printable, reusable matrix. The many layerings of interrelatedness in nature are reflected in and through this reticulated matrix. The frog imagery that dances in and out of the matrices are sometimes whole, but on closer inspection, graphite drawings of deformed frogs can be made out (see “Earth Matrix II: Ghost Frogs”), based on lab specimens reported in the article.
Kate Cheney Chappell is a painter, printmaker and poet living on the coast of Maine. She studied painting with Vaino Kola at Chatham College, etching, painting and literature at L’Atelier Goetz and the Sorbonne in Paris, and is a 1983 graduate of the University of Southern Maine. Art residencies include the Vermont Studio Center, Balinglen Arts Foundation (Ireland), Iceland and Italy. Her work combines printmaking techniques, collage and installation, and reflects her deep concern for the natural world. A solo exhibit in 2012, “Interrelated,” marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
A solo show at the New Britain Museum of American Art featured “Explosion of Amphibian Deformities,” later added to their permanent collection. Kate’s art is also in the collections of the New York Public Library, Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin Colleges and the University of New England.
Kate and her husband are co-founders of two environmentally sustainable companies, Tom’s of Maine and Ramblers Way. She founded the Center for Book Arts at USM, and serves as their Board chair. Other Board service includes Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the Maine Community Foundation, Tom’s of Maine (past) and Ramblers Way.