Denali National Park and Preserve Announces 2008 Artists-in-Residence
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
Four artists, including Ron Senungetuck, one of Alaska’s best-known native artists, will be participating in this year’s Artist-in-Residence program at Denali National Park and Preserve. Artists Sukey Bryan from Stanford, California, Melanie Mowinski of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and Sara Tabbert from Fairbanks Alaska, representing a variety of mediums, were selected from over sixty applicants from all over the United States. There was also an international applicant from Australia.
This year’s artists-in-residence will each have the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the park for a ten day period between June and mid-September. During their residency they stay in the historic East Fork cabin, located south of the Park Road at Mile 43. This site is one source of inspiration, as it looks out onto the braided tracts of the East Fork River, the multi-colored rock formations of Polychrome Mountain, the snow-capped peaks of the Alaska Range, and the lush tundra of the Plains of Murie.
Ron Senungetuk, a sculptor and silversmith whose work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, was invited to participate in the program by the National Park Service. He works primarily in wood and metal and is known for his abstractions of animal figures. Senungetuk was born in the village of Wales on the Seward Peninsula, and has spent most of his life in Alaska. A Fullbright scholar, he has received many distinguished honors and awards, including the Governor’s Award from the Alaska State Council on the Arts. He will use his time in Denali to review some of his artistic attempts and to explore ways of doing things for new artistic endeavors.
Sukey Bryan uses her oil paintings to explore the interaction and transformation of natural elements and cycles propelled by tidal, climatic, volcanic, and tectonic forces. While in Denali she will make paintings and drawings that investigate the geological formation of the Alaska Range, the impact of glacier movement, and water and wind erosion, and the functioning of the subarctic ecosystem. She has never been to the park, and is particularly interested in the taiga, and tundra ecosystems, the flow of water across the varied terrain, and the climatic cycles of the land and flora.
Melanie Mowinski is a paper and book artist who explores patterns in time and nature through documentation and collaborations. During her residency she will create a tree portrait artist book using different trees, supplemented by field guides that have specific information about the tree and personal reflections and observations of the artist.
Sara Tabbert is a printmaker who has expanded the range of materials she works with to include carved wood, plastic, glass and mosaic tile. Her artwork comes out of her interest in the endless variety of the natural world. She has a long standing love for Denali, which she explored during her summers as a seasonal employee. She is looking forward to having the time to make the art she has in her head about this landscape.
“We are pleased to provide a venue for these artists to totally immerse themselves in Denali,” said Acting Superintendent Philip Hooge. “The work they create from their experience in the park will be an inspiration for park visitors now and in the decades to come.”
All of the artists will offer a public presentation for visitors during their residency. Each will donate a piece of artwork to the park that was inspired by their time out in the park. The pieces donated by artists-in-residence from previous years will be on display in the Denali Visitor Center, which opens for the season on May 15, and the new Eielson Visitor Center, which is scheduled to open in mid-June.
The Artist-in-Residence program is a national program that enables established artists to reside in a park while they create park-related art. Artists have played a significant role in raising public awareness of the natural wonders preserved within the National Park System and the need for their protection since the creation of Yellowstone, the first national park. This is the seventh year of the Artist-in-Residence program at Denali National Park and Preserve. Nineteen artists, including eleven from Alaska, have participated in previous summers.
Did You Know?
Warmer temperatures have led to dramatic thawing of permafrost. Thaw releases carbon, as once-frozen materials decompose, but allows increased plant growth. Researchers in Denali are studying whether thawing permafrost will increase or decrease world-wide carbon emissions.