OPEN CALL | MARCH 2021
Society needs to heal. Art is a healing process. Through art, we can focus on sustainability and healthy living.
We invited local artists to participate in the open call for this Earth Day celebration exhibition entitled 6 Feet of Connection: Back to Our Roots; Rituals of Connection with the Earth. This Open Call to Ojai Valley artists acknowledged artists as cultural influencers, those who lead the way in shifting perceptions and precipitating new actions.
To view the selected artists' work, use the images below to navigate.
Through this initiative, Marisa Caichiolo invited local artists to join her in producing land art installations using solely natural materials. Proposals including anything other than natural materials for Back to Our Roots were not included in the online exhibition. Animals and humans were allowed to be part of the project, as were natural materials (Dirt, mud, sand, stones, leaves, wood, roots, seeds, plants, flowers, natural pigments, etc.). Performance art was also allowed. Proposals included video, photos, or sketches that supported the land art installation concept.
A jury composed of Marisa Caichiolo and a representative of each of the supporting organizations reviewed the proposals relative to their appropriateness to the theme and provided feedback relative to their acceptance of each proposal.
This event was originally planned to take place live in Ojai on April 22-25 at the Flourish Ojai center. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and a need for more outdoor space, the exhibition occurred both online and at The Ojai Cultural Retreat Center, with exhibits featured at both Flourish Ojai and Porch Gallery as well. Thank you all for your participation!
Brian & Lisa Berman
Reconnection with Mother Earth
EarthDay initiates our time to reconnect with nature, where our roots connect with Mother Earth as we celebrate springtime. This Spiral Portal installation welcomes viewers and participants into a sacred space for this reconnection. The four directions and the four seasons are the primary quadrants. The center of this portal is a Center of Light, honoring the light which feeds all creation from above and helps ground and connects us to Mother Earth below our feet.
Entering through the East Gateway, a clockwise path begins with the Spring quadrant, with Lavender, Rock Rose flower petals. Seasonal colors of purple, pink, and green, and a geometric stone triangle with the Viking Rune Oracle symbol for new beginnings.
Continuing the clockwise path South to the Summer quadrant with Oranges, Flower Petals, colors of orange, yellow, green with a geometric stone circle with the Rune symbol for nourishment and fulfillment.
Continuing clockwise entering to the West to find the Fall quadrant with Pinecones, grasses, dried roses, colors of burnt sienna, dark reds, orange, yellow with a geometric stone diamond with the Rune symbol for harvesting the fertile season.
Continuing to the North and explore the Winter quadrant with dried bark and leaves, colors of brown, white, and green with a geometric squarestone with the Viking Rune symbol for standstill, and a freeze on activity.
Each seasonal spiral lead into the Center of Light, with yellow and white stones and a Peace Pole, a geometric stone with the Rune symbol for opening to renewed clarity, dispelling darkness that has been shrouding some part of our life. Take some time in this sacred center to reflect on your life, acknowledging those darkened places that you are now letting go of, and Awakening Peace within your heart.
Thank you for taking the time to honor this invitation to Reconnect with Mother Earth.
Time to Change
This large serpent is made out of Eucalyptus and Jacaranda pods. The idea is that it is time to change and we need to be open to new possibilities. The pods dipped in mud look old and aged, the center of the body has more vitality and potentially to become renewed.
For me, artmaking is metaphor for life. I make choices with every mark and action. As a painter, I use paint in bottles, in spray cans and tubes. By creating for this piece using only natural materials, I made a choice to re-examine, redefine and venture into the unknown. Shed my comfort and think about the earth.
In Gratitude & Community
The snake is historically and across many cultures a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, fertility, and a creative life force. Since they shed their skin, they represent transformation, rebirth, healing, and immortality.
We are capable of shedding old ideas and disrupting patterns. We are all guilty of waste but comfortable with our sins. We love our chemicals and plastic, our electronics and technology, our instant solutions and quick meals. However, we do need to wake up and embrace better ways. They
say the Earth does not need us to figure out how to heal her, nature with its infinite wisdom will destroy us before we can destroy her. We need to learn how to do better as a species, as stewards of this planet.
Walter Erra Hubert
Los Angeles / Italy
An offering from Flourish Ojai
Heart / Mind and Soul
The Firewalker's initiation.
I find revealed through my lens of perception the direct connection between the worlds of spirit and nature. Bridging the gap between these two worlds has deepened my relationship with the sacred, along with the ceremonial practice of rituals. An invisible thread is stitched into our collective consciousness, weaving together many diverse symbols and songs, words and mystical elements that are found in history and ancient cultures. As this thread passes through the portals of enlightenment, it connects each of us to the sacred within us, honoring mother earth.
My offering of “3 Portals” has become a part of a whole new body of my creative work, as well as a deeply meaningful evolution for me as an artist.
My relationship to the collective human experience as expressed with these portals is literally grounded into this field. They are a part of the natural world and gratefully a part of this Earth Day celebration in Ojai.
Carol Shaw Sutton
Earth Alter // Ripe Offering
Earth Altar has been woven as a ritual celebration for our deep interconnection with all life coming directly from the ground into our bodies. I worked on this installation every day at nature’s unhurried pace
feeling the shamanic energy as the material and site lead me to completion. The viewer is invited to sit on the bench and feel the pulse of Gaia, or our wholeness within nature.
Fiber has been my choice of media for forty-plus years because it allows me to physically dance with the opposing forces of vigorous energy and serene restraint. As I weave, stitch, wrap or loop the often, unruly or tangled filaments into some kind of whole, my vision appears. This process records every moment spent as a kind of storage battery of intention and time passing.
Recently I was deeply moved by a walk amongst the ancient cedar forests of the Pacific Northwest, where there appeared to be silver threads woven between the trees, ground and sky....visible because of a magical mix of rain and sunlight. This display affected me deeply as my greatest joy has always been to see relationships, to see the connections within the world, and to foster a healing of our lives and planet
Ripe Offering is reminiscent of the generously fecund forms found in the natural world and was created as a haptic celebration of the fragile seasonal ripeness of the planet.
This piece can be seen as a nest, a seed pod, or simply as an abundant home for any creature who might be needing a place of shelter or sustenance. It is made using a looping technique, just as our mothers or grandmothers would lovingly make us a sweater, but instead of yarn, it is made of twisted water hyacinth and cattail fibers using only my hands one unit at a time. Each pocket is filled with local nuts and seeds for the hungry bird, squirrel or the deer I have seen while working here at the Retreat Center.
I see it as a way to deeply honor and maintain their presence in our lives.
Nature is there to see and study while blooming and thru withering, in all its moments.
All in nature is art. All in nature is a gift.
The simple perception of natural forms is a delight. The influence of the forms and actions in nature, is so needful to man, that, in its lowest functions, it seems to lie on the confines of commodity and beauty. To the body and mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone.
Ojai & Los Angeles, California
The project has two parts / a land installation and a video installation.
Marisa Caichiolo’s offering: a seed during the germination process, as a ritual of nourishment, connection and relationship with mother earth. All the potential and possibility of the world is contained in a single seed.
That seed has the ability to grow, to flourish, to produce fruit and flowers, to offer nutrition, magic, and strength. Part of the magic of these particular rituals is the alchemy of community and sharing. When we grow things, we end up sharing the abundance
The plants give and give to us, and it is only right that we give back to them. One of the ways we can reciprocate is by performing rituals that offer plants the same thing they offer us: physical nourishment and metaphysical energy.
The ritual is done in nature by a woman representing the feminine and fertility. The color purple / violet in the installation represents the current female empowerment movement and is an offering of women’s abundance and potency to Mother Earth.