The gun club and the eddy are two places I wouldn’t enter without good reason, and together, they have a darkly seductive draw. I have entered the gun club twice because that’s where the eddy is accessed. My first visit to the eddy was punctuated by the sound of gunshots. The second was snow-covered and silent.Read More
Today I feel less adrift and more at home. The feeling of home includes the memory of standing in the snow 1,200 miles from here eleven sunrises ago, as well as a month ago. The sunrise gave me roots.Read More
This beginning on a cold dusky evening was so near to the last place I floated the Klamath River years ago when I was teaching kayaking. This beginning met the previous end, picking up the dropped thread and beginning to weave a new pattern. That night we slept in our tents next to the river, listening to foxes screaming in the night.Read More
February 3 – February 25, 2023, at Truckenbrod Gallery in Corvallis, Oregon.
Our relationship with a river determines how it is seen. Depending on our personal experiences, we each see a river through a different lens. In this show, two artists (Wilson and Myers) and a scientist (Bartholomew) share their views of a river through different perspectives.
If I let it, a procedure can become the foundation of a ritual. When a ritual is honored, it has the potential to open a door to the unexpected.
Sunrise is no longer a habit or a routine. This year I have designated it as a project and it is now housed along with my formal projects on my website. It is a ritual.
Emeritus beckons. Time and time again, I’m inexorably drawn to stand within it with my head tipped toward the sky. There’s an unease, a dis-ease, underlying the elegance and grace of the forms. How will you respond?Read More
An introduction to my Klamath River Project: What interests me more than knowledge and answers that science provides are the questions we each ask, why we ask them, and the ways we go about trying to find answers. Within the questions, I have found many points of convergence between art and science, primarily in process. My goal with this project is not to explain or illustrate science with my art. Doing so would keep the science contained within the realm of the intellect. Rather my aspiration is to ask better questions so I can know the river, as well as I can, to see and experience it from different perspectives, and to create artwork alongside science that may provide a shift of perception or a doorway that opens to awe and wonder.Read More
Dams fascinate me. We build large walls to hold the water back. We try to tame the water so we can control how much and when it flows. This contradicts the nature of water which is to constantly flow. Dams make me uneasy.Read More
Louie is proud of this work at Three Sisters Irrigation District – it is a benefit to wildlife and he wants to spread the story. But there is more to it than that. This is a mutual and reciprocal healing: a story I want to spread.Read More
Environmental problems are not a dichotomy of problems with nature on one side and humans on the other. The dichotomy begins to crumble as soon as the concept of nature is removed. How will our relationship with our ecosystems change and how will our decisions be different if the distinction disintegrates altogether?Read More
The creek has been stretched back in time, erasing not only the human created erosion and damage, but also eliminating any chiseling the creek had done on its own prior to human intervention. It’s like shaking a giant Etch A Sketch until all evidence of previous drawings have been eliminated and the raw material is reset to a flat smooth plane where a new drawing can start to take form.Read More
My relationship with Whychus Creek started tentatively. The milky glacial water was not inviting even though it was a hot day in July. The headwaters on Broken Top are not very far away. The water is cold.Read More
In conjunction with my solo exhibition, Stories Told by Water, Umpqua Valley Arts hosted an artist talk on August 5. In this talk I give context to Stories Told by Water and I introduce work in progress the studio.Read More
This place is defined by water.
I came to Pine Meadow Ranch to listen to stories of the creek on this ranch in Sisters, Oregon. The ranch is idyllic with its unobstructed views of the mountains and Whychus Creek, its milky glacial melt waters originating from Broken Top and all Three Sisters, running through the ranch.
Little, if any land on the ranch is untouched. It is a fully constructed landscape dating back to the 1800s when settlers cleared fields for cattle and began diverting streams to irrigate their ranches. Some of the coveted water rights for this ranch date back to 1895, superseding the water rights of Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID).
Even if we are wary of beauty and its seductive qualities, it is still very difficult to avoid being seduced. Is there is a bias toward beautiful landscapes regarding scientific research?Read More
This is an ode to water, not as a resource, just as it is, with its own strange and beautiful qualities. It really is strange if you think about it.Read More
My art does not speak directly to environmental crises, environmentalism, or even ecology. There is a lot of art that does and I’m not convinced of the efficacy of much of it to change minds or to offer a new perspective, let alone to initiate action. There is only so much crisis one can take. I know this from experience.
I choose a different approach with my work.
My resistance to the label art-sci leads me to examine why I gravitate toward science with my art. I wanted more magic. Scientists show me how to see the world differently and expanding my mind by helping me see more complexity in the environment. But now, As an artist, instead of burying the magic, I get to draw it out and play with it.Read More
Art grants me certain liberties such as magic and intuition. Perhaps art offers scientists freedom and expansion to contemplate words like this. Expansions flow in both directions. I have gained freedoms and expansions from working with scientists.Read More
What do I learn from climbing a tall old-growth tree many times? What can I glean after sitting in one place from sunrise to sunset every season of the year? It makes me ponder the differences between actively or passively receiving information.Read More
We heard from four ecoartspace artists who shared their ideas and artworks about trees and forests: Marie-Luise Klotz, Christopher Lin, Erika Osborne, Leah Wilson. Leah Wilson told the story of “Listening to the Forest,” her installation created for Oregon State University’s College of Forestry.Read More
Challenging perception is too confrontational for my liking and it implies that I: 1) know the viewers’ worldview and 2) have an agenda to change it. Neither is true.
Instead of a challenge, I see my art as an invitation.
Art does not need to include an explicit element of self expression. My creative process is in service to developing a relationship with place rather than expressing myself. My path veers away from science because of my intention. I look toward science for examples of field research processes and systems designed to look at the world objectively. Unlike scientists, I do not set up systems to ensure that whoever asks the question gets consistent answers. I do not aim to answer questions. My intention is to develop a relationship.Read More
There is a rich story embedded in Listening to the Forest. This video introduces the process and concepts behind the project.Read More
You have a very structured and deliberate approach to your art. Do you find that limiting? Many students complain, saying science writing is so formulaic, so boring. But consider haiku. What writing could be more formulaic?Read More
May 20: The beauty and mystery of trees has long been a subject for artists, and more recently, concern for the survival of forests (the lungs of our planet) has been paramount.Read More
Leah Wilson: Stories Told by Water is a solo exhibition running from June 11 – August 20, 2021 at Umpqua Valley Arts in Roseburg, Oregon. The virtual opening reception is June 11 from 5 – 6 PM PST. See you there!Read More
Join us on Wednesday, May 12 at 4 PM for a conversation about the new public art installation “Listening to the Forest,” located in the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center on the OSU campus. The discussion will be preceded by a short video introducing the artwork and will include a live Q&A with the artist Leah Wilson, moderated by Dr. Brooke Penaluna.Read More
I receive many questions during presentations and artist talks. I can’t address them all in the event’s timeframe. This is a good place to reflect:
Q: What motivates your choice in topics?
In conjunction with the October 2021 exhibition at The Arts Center in Corvallis entitled What Will Nature Do? I spoke about collaborating with time in my creative process. Hydrologist Steve Wondzell joined me on April 20, 2021 to provide his perspective of my art from a scientist’s point of view.Read More