WILD WALKS: An Artist's Journey Through Sights and Sounds of Pacific Northwest Trails presents contemporary landscape artist Sarah B Hansen’s latest exploration into her decades-long Northwest hiking journeys, through the use of mixed media paintings and auditory tracks. The mixed media work presented in this solo exhibition are created on 2” cradled birch panels. Auditory tracks play in the background and have been personally mixed for this show.
Inspired by her past hikes, and witnessing the increasing changes of human impact on wilderness areas, Hansen has created this selection of work to focus both on the treasure of wild spaces and to reflect on what it means to experience the unaffected wilderness.
While environmental changes may seem both imperceptible and extreme, in this body of work, Hansen concentrates instead on the personal experience of being in wild Cascadia. With a painting surface highly textured by collage and regional foliage imprints, she reminds us to notice a varying scale of elements that make up the diverse PNW landscape, from tiny leaves to volcanic faces of the Cascades. Hansen’s interest in the effects of relaxing benefits in wilderness immersion is demonstrated visually with subdued palette choices and large spaces of gradient areas - as well as auditorily, by specific audio tracks playing in the background. Poems and phrases are written into the landscape, suggesting how, when hiking through the forest, thoughts of peace and tranquility arise.
For the exhibition, natural soundscapes have been created specifically to pair with Hansen’s paintings, by a collaboration with Gordon Hempton, Soundtracker, from Puget Sound, WA. This creates atmosphere in which to encounter a deeper level of the wilderness, beyond just the visual; a reminder of wild spaces unaffected by human-caused distractions.
Overall, the exhibition invites viewers to experience and treasure sights and sounds of Washington and Oregon wilderness, consider how these areas effect well-being and reflect on their potential absence. As the walk is completed, anxiety recedes, and healing begins.
Save wild spaces; pick up your refuse, tread lightly, and speak quietly.