Coal – Not In Any Back Yard

January 15, 2014

A dear friend of mine, Bonnie Meltzer, has been working hard to protect Portland from coal trains. As part of her fight she is having a show at Portland University and has invite me and Thom Caccamo to show a few pieces with her.

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The details:

January 13 – February 6, 2014

Reception:  Saturday, January 18 
2:00 – 4:00  Short Gallery Talk at 3:00
University of Portland, Buckley Center Gallery 

The threat of hazardous coal trains rumbling through Bonnie Meltzer’s North Portland neighborhood sparked her environmental activism and prodded her to produce a series of artworks about the proposed coal export terminals. Environmental issues have been a long-time theme running through Meltzer’s very mixed media sculptures.  Her use of globes and other found objects give her a symbolic, visual and verbal vocabulary in which to frame an idea and interpret the news.  In this exhibition Meltzer offers a compelling and even humorous look at the local and the global implications of destructive coal by turning crocheted wire, beads, found objects, and painted wood into sculptural commentary.

Coal mined from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming would travel on barges and trains through our beloved Northwest (including the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area) and on to Asia by mega-ships. At the time of this writing, three out of the six coal terminals are still waiting for permits to be approved or denied.  Three of the original six proposals have withdrawn but the three left would have a destructive daily impact. Dozens of trains will stop traffic and spew toxins.  Meltzer not only makes art about the issue but testifies at hearings, organized an informational rally, and writes a Facebook page about coal.
Born in New Jersey, Meltzer came west to get her MFA in Design at the University of Washington — and she never left. She has exhibited throughout the Northwest and across the nation.  Her work is in many private and public collections including the the National Science Foundation, the City of Portland, the Community Music Center and the University of Washington School of Business. The sculpture, “Global Warming”, which will be shown at this University of Portland exhibition, is on the cover of the new book The Fine Art of Crochet by Gwen Blakley Kinsler.
When Meltzer saw Thom Caccamo’s ceramic fish skeleton series and Kelly Neidig’s traffic and cloud paintings she invited them to exhibit with her. Their artworks fit right into the coal and environment theme.

More Information about 

Bonnie Meltzer:
Coal Export:
Other Artists:


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