In the Flow: Art, Ecology and Pedagogy

Kittredge Gallery, University of Puget Sound 10/23-12/9, 2023

In the Flow exhibit examines art, ecology, and pedagogy in conversation with the Flow: Art & Ecology in a Changing Climate symposium.

The reception for the exhibit will be November 3rd, 4-5pm

Gallery Statement

In the Flow features the work of nine artists and collaborative teams working in the Salish Sea Watershed and Columbia River Basin. The artworks explore how land and place can help us contend with histories and build new kinds of relationships in the face of accelerated climate change.

The word pedagogy, seems like an old-fashioned and academic way to refer to teaching, but its greek roots (paidos’ (child) and ‘agogos’ (leader) are useful in helping us honor the childhood wonder and immediacy of the sensory world that can sit at the heart of teaching and learning. The artists of this exhibit all practice forms of pedagogy that connect us to the wonder of our immediate environment and multi-sensory engagement with land and place. They approach pedagogy as a form of reparation, remediation and healing that can refigure old relationships in new ways. 

It matters who and what we listen to and in this moment, place and land are critical teachers. Pedagogy is not bound to institutions, it occurs in our communities, the natural world, through oral traditions and through other species. The artists in this show find teachers and collaborators among rocks, glaciers, earth, fungi, oceans, Nch’i-wana/Wimal/Columbia River, plants, other humans and pre-colonial languages of place.

This exhibition serves as a touchstone for the two day symposium: Flow: Art and Ecology in a Changing Climate. Many of the symposium’s workshops are directly tied to the artworks on exhibit. They offer physical engagements with matter and materials like pigments and inks, mycelium, plastic waste, and rocks. This exhibit and the symposium model and provide direct, interactive opportunities to integrate and embody place/land based knowledge through art and ecology.

Heidi Gustafson Statement

Raw ochres, earth pigments and soils gathered and ground by hand in Cascadia, the bioregion largely defined by land within “the Big River” (known today as the Columbia River) headwaters and tributaries in Coast Salish traditional homelands (known as British Columbia, Washington and Oregon). The soil is mixed with various elements: groundwater from glacial aquifers below Sumas Mt, groundwater from the Methow river, wheatpaste made from locally-grown organic grains from Skagit Valley, WA and Twisp, WA; cedar, fir, pine and spruce gum binders foraged by Jason Logan; mugwort and juniper oils. I use a stick, a knife, fingers and sometimes a brush to rub the soil on the paper.

I consider this a work of translation: trying to let the ochres speak for themselves.

Book of Earth, Cascadia, 2023 (book) Earth, waters, grains, saps on plant paper

Rainbow Body of Earth, 2023 (film) 22:24min, Editing: Peter Rand, Filming: Corwin Fergus; Sound: Excerpts from the album, Deep Listening by Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis.

Artist Bio

Heidi Gustafson is an artist and ochre specialist who was born and lives in the rural North Cascades. Her highly collaborative and intuitive projects include an ochre sanctuary earthwork with over 600 earth pigments gathered from around Earth. Called the “woman archiving the world’s ochers” by the New York Times, and the “ochre whisperer” in American Craft, her work has been featured in several books and publications worldwide including the Dark Mountain Project, Kinfolk, Das Kunstmagazin, China Life Magazine, True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigment, Soil Keepers and many others. She is the author of Book of Earth : A Guide to Ochre, Pigments, and Raw Color (Abrams, 2023).

Beverly Naidus Statement

“The Dead Ocean Scrolls and other Possible Futures” is a series that speaks to the precarity of this moment on our planet and imagines strategies for responding to many of the challenges we currently face.

The large hanging “scrolls” are made from a handsewn patchwork of scrap plastic, tracing paper, thread, digital prints, and paint. Previously these scrolls were known as “trauma curtains” and were part of the installation “We Almost Didn’t Make It,” exhibited at COCA in Seattle and ONCA in Brighton, England in 2018.  

During the Pandemic time, Naidus spent time reflecting on the impossibility of healing those traumas and was reminded that thinking things were impossible to solve was part of the problem. She took inspiration from lots of speculative fiction, the Emergent Strategy Institute, and recent findings by radical anthropologists and archaeologists, and began reimagining antidotes to the current dystopia. This practice required writing, meditation, working in the dirt of her garden, lots of discussions, and processing complex layers of emotions via painting and sewing.

The use of plastic as a material is laden with significance for her.  Her late father was a chemical engineer who designed and manufactured plastics. He was also a lifelong gardener who sprayed the fruit trees with pesticides. As a result of her early exposure to these toxins, as well as the aerial spraying of Malathion in southern California during the nine years she lived in Los Angeles, she became disabled in her late 30s and early 40s by an environmental illness. Even though she identified as someone concerned about the environment before the illness, the experience of being profoundly touched by ecocide and meeting others similarly disabled changed her forever. She was one of the fortunate ones who recovered. Her healing process included a combination of modalities and protocols that shifted her body’s chemistry and immune system, and art making was crucial to that process. The project, CANARY NOTES: The Personal Politics of Environmental Illness that investigated the origins of pesticides and the corruption involved in marketing them, along with her Healing Deity series helped her connect to her spiritual and creative strengths and catalyzed a profound shift that lifted her out of her disability.

Although she continues to navigate the modern world of industrial chemicals with caution, this somatic experience of ecocide deeply influenced her creative voice. The ability that her body has had to heal and transform, despite what could have been a permanent limitation, has informed her imagination in a powerful way. While she is not at all certain that the worst aspects of ecocide can be avoided, she has been looking at the neuroplasticity of the brain (another fascinating use of the word plastic) and attempting to reimagine our future with a trust that often seems irrational.  Since that which cannot be explained logically has informed aspects of her art for most of her life, she will continue to believe that solutions to our current problems may exist in realms currently unknown. She has tried to depict some of these questions and reflections in the “Dead Ocean Scrolls and other Possible Futures.” 

As Naidus was reworking the curtains into scrolls, she found that the motif of the web spoke most vividly of the necessity to see our current problems as interconnected. A new series of digitally painted, Pandemic Healing Deities peek out of the plastic folds, bulges, and blisters, like change agents emerging to shift the energy and create transformation. Prints of the Pandemic Healing Deities are available for purchase via 

Dead Ocean Scrolls 1, 2, 3, 2021, Acrylic paint & paper on plastic scraps

Artist Bio

Beverly Naidus’s art practice straddles the socially engaged margins of the art world, collaborations with other artists and activist groups, and community-based creative endeavors. Much of her work deals with ecological and social issues that have impacted her life and those around her. Aside from attempting to heal personal and collective trauma through her work, she challenges those who interact with her projects to reimagine a post-collapse world that moves beyond dystopia. She has received recognition and funding for her interactive public installations, photo/text pieces, artist’s books, published essays, and her blog on Substack called Gravity Humming. Her work has been shown internationally in museums, alternative spaces, and as public interventions. She received tenure twice (at Cal State Long Beach and at UW Tacoma) and has a long history of teaching art for social change and healing. She was on the summer faculty of the Institute for Social Ecology for over a decade. Her eco-art/permaculture design project: Eden Reframed still lives on Vashon Island. Her book, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame has been very influential and is still in print. She facilitates the FB group, Arts for Change with over 6100 members. She is also a member of Ecoartspace, the Ecoart Network, and the London Writers Salon. She co-founded a weekly meditation group with her late partner, Dr. Bob Spivey, in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh, their beloved teacher. Her website is and she can occasionally be found on Instagram at #utopias4all, but she prefers embodied contact with humans and the more than human.

Cynthia Camlin Statement

Chalktalk tracks students’ research and discoveries as they learn about organisms of the Salish Sea watershed. Chalktalk responds to the compelling question that the eco-theologian Thomas Berry asked: what if we understood the universe not as a collection of objects, but as a communion of subjects? What if we understand other species not only as objects to be collected, preserved and studied, but as living beings who are themselves holders of knowledge?

Each week students respond to Chalktalk prompts, on sidewalks and streets of Bellingham — and here, on the wall in Kittredge Gallery. Each of their responses are posted to @artandecologywwu on Instagram. Photographed and uploaded to social media, their temporary gestures are preserved and recirculated.

Visitors to Chalktalk in Kittredge Gallery are invited to participate, reflecting by writing and drawing about their relationship with a nonhuman being.

Chalktalk, 2023, Cynthia Camlin and Art and Ecology students at Western Washington University

Artist Bio

Cynthia Camlin’s recent paintings are inspired by unique wetlands in the coastal Southeast named “Carolina bays,” oval-shaped Sphagnum bogs, shallow lakes and longleaf pine savannas that once numbered in the thousands. This work is an outgrowth of “Swamp/Garden,” a series that addresses the entanglement of social and ecological history, which received a Jordan Schnitzer Foundation Black Lives Matter grant and was exhibited at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU in 2021-22. Through abstracted forms and metaphor in paintings, drawings and installations, Camlin has attempted to reckon with climate change for two decades, with imagery from dying coral reefs that recall a brain encrusted with plaque to dividing and cracking grid structures that resemble the collapse of both ice sheets and architecture. Camlin received a BA at Duke University, an MA at the University of Virginia and an MFA in 2000 at the University of Texas at Austin.

Daniela Molnar Statement

Every shape in these paintings is the shape of newly exposed ground near glaciers. This is land that used to be permanently covered by a glacier that climate change has now uncovered. This new earth is like a wound. When a wound occurs, the body instantly begins its healing. These wound-shapes create difficult beauty that invites mourning, critical awareness, and renewed forms of healing and care.

Each painting’s pigments are sourced from the places represented in the painting using stones and plants plus water from glaciers, rivers, and lakes.

The paintings’ abstract maps are drawn from NASA satellite imagery and scientific data but are intentionally inscrutable to science. Rather than presenting painfully familiar facts about climate change, these paintings use those facts to appeal to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences of those facts, offering a much-needed space to feel the strong emotions—grief, fear, horror, rage, wonder—that climate change elicits. Allowing ourselves to fully experience these emotions is the first step to being able to make wiser choices as individuals and citizens. These paintings offer an intentionally sensorially gratifying space in which one can stop rationalizing or catastrophizing, and can, instead, feel. 

New Earth 20 (Cascade Range: Mount Garibaldi, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams), Natural and synthetic pigments and rainwater on paper, 2021

New Earth 21 (Cascade Range: Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Shasta), Natural and synthetic pigments and rainwater on paper, 2021

New Earth 30 (Cascade Range and Himalayas), Natural and synthetic pigments, riverwater, glacial runoff, and rainwater on paper, 2023

Artist Bio

Daniela Naomi Molnar is an artist, poet, and writer collaborating with the mediums of language, image, paint, pigment, and place. She is also a wilderness guide, educator, and eternal student. Her book CHORUS was selected by Kazim Ali as the winner of Omnidawn Press’ 1st/2nd Book Award. Her work is the subject of a front-page feature in the Los Angeles Times, an Oregon Art Beat profile, an entry in the Oregon Encyclopedia, a feature in Poetry Daily, and has been recognized by numerous grants, fellowships, and residencies. Her next book, Light / Remains, is a hybrid of poetry, essay, and art, out in 2025 from Bored Wolves Press. She founded the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and helped found the backcountry artist residency Signal Fire. She is a 3G Jew, daughter of immigrants, and a queer student of the earth. She can be found in Portland, Oregon, and exploring global wildlands. / Instagram: @daniela_naomi_molnar

Melonie Anceta Statement

This work is about how traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices were broken by colonization and how pigments are helping revitalize these cultures while correcting information that has perpetuated misconceptions about Indigenous people. 

çwáanggaa represents the breaking of traditional knowledge and practices that has occurred in so many Indigenous cultures around the world. Painted with foraged inorganic pigments on the left to show the traditional color-making materials of NW Coast Indigenous people, that side represents knowledge and practices that were lost. Those materials and colors were deeply embedded in and integral to who these cultures were prior to colonization. The right side is painted with synthetic pigments and acrylic medium to represent the man-made, meaningless materials and colors that replaced traditional pigments. The synthetic materials do not provide the same function as the traditional pigments and are meaningless in these cultures. 

Integral to the socio/political, spiritual and practical aspects of NW Coast Indigenous lives, restoration of knowledge and practices around traditional materials and color is vital for these cultures to reconnect with their heritage, history, spirituality and more. This knowledge can help reconnect them with their land, heritage and ancestors, and provides information in which they can take pride. It is a way of honoring the past while bringing it into the present and making it available for current and future generations to learn from, and to grow and build upon.

çwáanggaa: broken, Cedar, handmade gouache w/Inorganic (natural foraged) pigments, handmade acrylic paint with synthetic pigments. Inorganic pigments: Charcoal, red iron oxide, Vivianite. Synthetic pigments: Vermilion, Ultramarine, Mars black, 2023

Artist Bio

Melonie Ancheata is a professional researcher, artist and educator native to the Pacific Northwest. She has been studying Vivianite and traditional earth pigments for more than 25 years, with a focus on the relationships between pigments and cultural systems. Her innovative cross-cultural approach to research and restoration of traditional Indigenous pigments and paint technology has revealed important insights into the practical, spiritual and ecological knowledge embedded in materials and Indigenous cultures. Through her research she works to revitalize Indigenous material and cultural knowledge and practices that were lost or are currently endangered. Melonie is founder and director of Pigments Revealed International, a nonprofit international organization focused on building a global pigment community and fostering pigment education and research. She is also founder and owner of Native Paint Revealed, a research and consultation service for better understanding and caring for Indigenous artifacts, and Copper Woman Studio, which represents her personal art practice. Her extensive Vivianite pigment collection is part of Harvard’s Forbes Pigment Archive and her research has been published in The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian publication,  American Indian Magazine, as well as UCLA’s American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and elsewhere. Ancheta is working on a book about traditional Northwest Coast pigment and paint technology, and offers workshops, tutorials and other learning opportunities.

Dann Disciglio Statement

Inspired by early photographic experiments by Eadweard Muybridge and
Étienne-Jules Marey, Real-Time Lapse utilizes AI to reveal a sequence of images which are predicted to exist between time-lapse photographs.

Real-Timelapse, digital video on screen with sound, 2023

Artist Bio

Dann Disciglio (b.1993) is an intermedia artist and educator currently based in Portland, OR. His research-oriented practice investigates contemporary ecologies through various technological apparatuses. He holds a BA from Hampshire College (2015) in art and media theory and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sound Department (2019). Disciglio has exhibited work and performed throughout the US and Europe and has published texts in the Journal of Visual Culture (SAGE) and the Minding Nature journal. He is currently serving as the Visiting Professor of Digital Media at Lewis & Clark College.

Artist Statement

Mycelium is the neurological network of nature– P. Stamets

What is it like to be a fungi or think like a fungi? How have fungi and humans co-evolved? How can we learn from fungi and live differently as a result? These are the provocative questions that helped shape 6 collaborative zines covering Poetics, Politics and Art of Fungi, Biology of Fungi, Myco-remediation and Science, Ethnomycology, and Fungi Futures by the students in Cara Tomlinson’s Fall 2023 Art & Ecology course. This installation also includes mycelial sculptural forms, handmade blackboards which are artifacts of a related performance and further resources for research. We aim to create an open-ended assemblage of ideas and experiments. Invoking anthropologist Anna Tsing’s description of writing a book inspired by fungal patterns, we gesture to the hidden collaborations that “tangle and interrupt each other” that unexpectantly erupt into abundant flushes of fruiting bodies. Please join us in engaging in exchanges, disseminations, reading parties, and all other forms of mycelial connections this collaboration may inspire.

Mycelial Thinking (The Fungus Among Us), Cara Tomlinson and Fall 2023 Lewis & Clark College Art & Ecology Students: Sophie Abbassian, Miriam Baena, Summer Dae Binder, Owen Clark, Allison Clarke, Mallory Dubois, Margo Gaillard, Liv Ladaire, Gillian Largay, Paloma Richeson, Gabriel Rosenfield, Stella Scheffer, Anthi Sklavenitis, Ezequiel Walker, Lila Ward, and Aiden Wilkson

Materials in Installation: Hardwood sawdust, Hemp hurds, Reishi & Turkeytail Mycelium, foraged Monson Maine slate stones, white pine, foraged cattail and dogbane cordage, soapstone, beeswax, 6 Zine editions of 15, wood shelves, handmade wood stools, cushions and carpet.

Artist Bio

Cara Tomlinson is an Oregon-based artist and educator who works at the intersection of visual art and ecology. Her abstract paintings, drawings, and sculptures focus on ecologies and relationships between human and non-human bodies. She holds a BA from Bennington College in Painting and Literature and an MFA in Painting from The School of Art and Design at the University of Oregon. Tomlinson shows her work nationally and internationally and has been supported by numerous grants and residency awards. She teaches traditional and experimental art practices, with an emphasis on art as an ecological practice. She has taught at Dartmouth College, University of Iowa, Syracuse University and is currently an Associate Professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Tomlinson is also a card-holding member of the Oregon Mycological Society, citizen scientist and fungi futurist.

Project Statement

These signs were created by University of Puget Sound students in the inaugural Environmental Racism course offered in the fall of 2021. The course is a joint creation of the programs in African American Studies and the Environmental Policy and Decision-Making, and is taught by Profs. Renee Simms and Rachel DeMotts.

Students engaged with material that ranged from academic articles and governmental policy to oral histories, visual art, and poetry. Using various sites and modes of learning, the class studied Traditional Ecological Knowledge; became conversant about colonialism and systems of dispossession; and developed ethical perspectives about the environment across cultural and geographical contexts. 

The signs were created as the final project in partnership with Christopher Briden of the Puyallup Tribal Language School. In small groups, students identified plants on our campus, researched their Indigenous histories and names, created graphic designs for the signage, and placed the signs on our campus with a demand that the university make the signs permanent. Students also created a project-specific land acknowledgment, maps, a video, and a zine that were distributed during a public event to share their work. In the video students said, “This is a Project to make the Lushootseed language visible and connect our campus community with Indigenous knowledge.”  They also said, “The University of Puget Sound needs an Indigenous studies program.”

Throughout, students were able to learn not only about Indigenous plants and language, but also how to work respectfully with community partners. In particular, we emphasized the importance of approaching the work in a way that centers the relationship, rather than simply the project or desired outcome. In this way, we wanted students to experience putting the interests and priorities of the Language Program first, while learning and revising accordingly.

The signs that came out of the project can still be seen posted on campus, and were very well received in the tribal community.

A list of the creators is below.

Anne Elise Russell 

Aslan Renner 

Avery Honaker 

Christina Mills 

Connor McDaniel 

Corey Hodder 

Danny Kedansky 

Diego Seira Silva-Herzog 

Elijah Turner 

Ella Desantis 

Emily Kieny 

Emma Browning 

Erin Valoroso 

Hannah Marx 

Holland Mueller 

Jordan Calhoun 

Kayla Grinsfelder 

Kaylynn O’Curran 

Kenley Borgerson 

Marilyn Bowman 

Maura Lake 

Max Merrill 

Maya Horten 

Mia Holbert 

Quincy Bento 

River Kulus 

Sarah Dormer 

Serena Sevasin 

Theo Baumann 

Tom Patterson

Seeding Lushootseed, installation of corrugated plastic, metal stands in terracotta pots, 2023