Monhegan’s Chappell honors Carson
Pittsburgh — Award-winning artist Kate Cheney Chappell, who maintains a studio on Monhegan, will mount a one-person show at Chatham University in Pittsburgh to honor Rachel Carson and the 50th anniversary of Carson’s groundbreaking book, “Silent Spring.” The exhibit will open Thursday, Sept. 27 and runs through Nov. 15.
Both Chappell and Carson are alumnae of Chatham and both have Maine in common. Carson summered on Southport Island and is one of Maine’s most celebrated scientists; over 50 miles of southern Maine coastline were dedicated as Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in her memory.
Chappell moved “back to the land” with her husband Tom in 1968 and co-founded the natural products company Tom’s of Maine, based on the values of community and caring for the environment. During walks in the Rachel Carson Refuge in Wells, Chappell passes a boulder with Carson’s words inscribed in bronze — “All the life of the planet is interrelated … each species has its own ties to others … and all are related to the earth.” Chappell credits Carson with being a guiding light in her life, saying “My work reflects Rachel Carson’s understanding that we are all interrelated, all part of the web of life.”
The exhibit, “InterRelated,” showcases more than 50 works, from monoprints and mixed media to installations and artist’s books. As part of the show, Chappell will collaborate with students to build a life-size eagle’s nest on campus from collected dead branches. Raku-fired clay “eagle’s eggs” she created will be hidden on campus for students to find. The eggs contain messages about DDT, its contribution to the thinning of eagle’s eggshells and the subsequent decline in their population. “Silent Spring” sparked a debate that led to the banning of DDT and other pesticides in 1974.
An essay by Sherry Buckberrough, chairman of the art history department at the University of Hartford, and one by the director of the Rachel Carson Institute, appear with color reproductions of Chappell’s work in a 50-page show catalog published by Chatham, and poems published in response to Carson are included. One of the poets, Marjorie Agosin, a Chlilean writer who teaches at Wellesley and lives part-time in Wells, will travel to do a poetry reading at the opening.
Chappell maintains studios in Westbrook and on Monhegan Island. She is represented by Mast Cove Gallery in Kennebunkport and the Lupine Gallery on Monhegan. Her work is in the collections of the New York Public Library, Colby, Bates and Bowdoin Cclleges, the University of New England and the New Britain Museum of American Art.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or email@example.com.