A visual essay about humanity’s deep connection to fire and the impacts of fossil fuels is featured in an upcoming exhibit at Betty Feves Memorial Gallery.
“A God In the Hearth,” by Portland artist David Carmack Lewis, opens with a reception Thursday, Feb. 11 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The gallery is located in Pioneer Hall at Blue Mountain Community College, 2411 N.W. Carden Ave., Pendleton. The exhibit runs through March 10.
The show’s opening reception coincides with BMCC hosting Pendleton Chamber of Commerce’s Kick It Up After 5. The event begins just after 5 p.m. in Pioneer Hall. Those attending can meet students and faculty, student ambassadors and Timber, the college’s mascot. It also features demonstrations of the emergency medical services program’s new high-tech simulation mannequin.
Originally from Virginia, Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. He began his career as an illustrator. Although, Lewis has focused solely on independent work for more than a decade, he never abandoned narrative image making.
Lewis said he creates “visual essays that rely on documentation as much as artistic interpretation to tell stories at the crossroads of science and human values.” His paintings in this exhibit draw comparisons between traditional hearths — such as fireplaces and kitchens — and new hearths, including engines and power plants.
Lewis shares in his blog that he first began to think deeply about the relationship between human beings and fire in October 2013 while at the Playa Artist Residency Program, located in Oregon’s Lake County.
“Without fire we would not even exist. ... In its varied forms we simultaneously love fire and fear it,” he said. “But all too often, at our peril, we take it for granted.”
Lewis considers these works to be quite different from his previous efforts. He said an educational setting at a community college campus is a great fit for showing his work. This is congruent with the gallery’s mission, which seeks to connect emerging and established artists and their work with BMCC, as well as the general public in Eastern Oregon.
The Betty Feves Memorial Gallery is open Monday through Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and by appointment by calling 541-278-5952. For more about Lewis, visit www.davidcarmacklewis.com.