‘Less is More’ exhibit pushes CMC sustainability efforts | PostIndependent.com

‘Less is More’ exhibit pushes CMC sustainability efforts

This is one photo that appears in the "Less is More: Sustainable Art and New media in a Culture of Excess" exhibit at CMC Aspen. The show focuses on a theme of sustainability
Daniel Workman |


Who: Colorado Mountain College staff, faculty and students

What: “Less is More: Sustainable Art and New Media in a Culture of Excess” opening reception

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday (exhibit lasts through March 31)

Where: Colorado Mountain College in Aspen, 255 Sage Way

How Much: Free

In an effort to spread Colorado Mountain College’s philosophy of sustainability, the Aspen campus will host an art exhibit showcasing work that was either created with sustainable materials or with content reflecting the theme of sustainability.

“Less is More: Sustainable Art and New Media in a Culture of Excess” features work from about 25 students, faculty and staff members from CMC’s nine-county service area — specifically, from the Aspen, Spring Valley, Rifle, Steamboat Springs, Leadville and Breckenridge campuses.

“This is the first college-wide exhibit that we’ve had up at the Aspen campus that I know about,” said K Rhynus Cesark, exhibit curator and CMC art instructor. “This call for entries has encouraged dialogue between students and faculty, and faculty to faculty, [about] creating work that is sustainable with regards to the materials and practices used, as well as the concepts that the artwork addresses.”

In her call for entries, Cesark posed the question, “What does it look like to live simply and with less in our culture of ‘more?’” Participants have tried to answer that question through their art and an accompanying artist statement.

The art in the exhibit comes in a wide range of media, including photography, sculpture, painting and digital. Cesark has a piece in the show herself, a tumbleweed dipped in porcelain. It was made from reclaimed or found materials.

Some pieces are not necessarily made with sustainable means, but rather the content reflects the theme. A few black and white photographs depict a sparse landscape with more sky than land, a line of Costa Rican children in a slum with plates and spoons in their hands, and a diner wearing a hazmat suit while eating at a fast food restaurant.

The idea for the exhibit came about through a conversation Cesark had with Margaret Maxwell, director, instructional chair and academic lead for CMC Aspen. Maxwell plays an important role in CMC’s college-wide dedication to sustainable practices. She said the art exhibit is just another way to spread that message.

“We’re hoping the show is an outgrowth of the college’s commitment to sustainability,” she said. “By inviting everybody from all the different campuses to the show, we’re also bringing the campuses together as one because we are so spread out. The art show is supposed to be one voice for sustainability packed into the show at Aspen.”

CMC’s dedication to environmental consciousness is obvious in a few ways, Cesark said. For example, faculty and staff members are encouraged to carpool or take public transportation, and they are able to win prizes every month if they’ve taken the bus a certain number of times. The college is working toward a switch to LED lights, which are more energy-efficient. Maxwell said each campus has a “green team,” a student organization that puts sustainability teachings into practice. And the college offers a bachelor’s degree in sustainable studies at several campuses.

Some may find an inconsistency in hosting an exhibit called “Less is More” in Aspen, an area of wealth. But Cesark said “excess” for the purposes of this exhibit is not about money, but about being conscious of how we use resources.

“I think in every community right now, [sustainability] is at the forefront of their thinking,” Cesark said. “It’s a huge issue for every community, and Aspen’s no different. You see a lot more little electric cars downtown than we ever have before, and in designing buildings, we’re much more conscious of energy now than ever.”

“Less Is More: Sustainable Art and New Media in a Culture of Excess” opens with a public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at Colorado Mountain College in Aspen, 255 Sage Way. The show runs through March 31, though those who want to see the exhibit are strongly advised to call 970-925-7740 first to make sure a class or other event is not in session in the gallery.

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