Now through May 7, 2022
Kolman & Reeb Gallery is pleased to present Project Space grantee, Betsy Ruth Byers’, new exhibition, Scaffold. Kolman & Reeb Gallery’s Project Space is an initiative launched in 2021, to further support visual artists. The exhibition is a multi-sensory, multi-media manifestation of Byers’ alpine and equatorial glacial experiences and the global realities related to climate change.
“Receiving the Project Space grant from Kolman & Reeb gave me the resources and funds to move from two-dimensional painting to installation-based work,” Byers says. For several years, Byers has accompanied scientists on trips to various glaciers, hiked the Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps, and observed how glacier tourism now requires bridges and ladders to reach receding and melting glaciers.
“Many people’s experiences of arctic, alpine, and tropical glaciers (often located on equatorial volcanoes) are through screens, and through the speed of social media,” Byers says. “In this exhibition, through which I’ve been processing my experiences, I hope to create contemplative, sensory spaces people can step into and come to an embodied understanding of what’s happening in our world.”
The work within “Scaffold,” Byers says, “is visually anchored in the aesthetic of survival gear—colors like bright orange and metallic reflectives—and the language of temporary solutions and adaptations.” Elements include a survival tent, a soundscape created from heartbeats heard via a digital stethoscope, paintings, and an olfactory piece. “Smell is so connected to brain function,” she says. “My goal is to create an interactive space that engages the senses and creates physical lasting memories of the exhibition.”
Byers also wants viewers to consider concepts such as time and change, the temporary, and ideas of survival. “The earth is reacting to climate change in survival mode, and we are slow to act. I want to create a space in which people can contemplate this and let the elements of installation affect them physically.”
“We are thrilled to be providing Betsy with a space in which to create an installation that addresses one of the pressing issues of our time, climate change,” says Anita Sue Kolman, gallery owner and partner. “Our gallery has always focused on supporting Minnesota artists. Our Project Space initiative has allowed Betsy to create a whole world that includes her paintings and other aspects that will engage all of the senses. We hope our visitors find the show to be powerfully engaging and thought-provoking.”