Agriculture and industry collide in a series of paintings and drawings on display at the Ion Gallery of Art/Design.
The gallery, located at 209 W. Calder Way, featured artist Sean Bodley in its first fall event, “Post Progress.” The gallery opening was held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
“They’re sort of all loosely tied to ideas of technology, agriculture and the survival of the human race,” Bodley, originally from Madison, Wis., said of his collection.
He said that he drew a lot of inspiration from recent industrial accidents, environmental issues and “real life issues.”
Part of the idea behind the paintings was that we as humans need technology, but it can harm us too, Bodley said.
Among the drawings featured, which were done in ink on paper, is one entitled “Map Maker.” It depicts a hand reaching out of the pages of a book containing various maps. The hand stretches out into mountains and an ocean.
“It’s sort of about civilization and going beyond the known world,” Bodley said.
Bodley’s personal favorite painting is entitled “Aquaponics,” done in watercolor and gouache on paper. It depicts different levels of an open-air tower. On each level, a different type of plant is growing. Fish are being raised on the bottom level.
The inspiration for this painting came from an aquaponics structure he saw in Milwaukee, Wis., where Bodley received his degree in painting from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts.
Lauren Downing, assistant director at Ion, said the gallery wanted to work with Bodley, a prominent artist in the State College area. However, it wanted to display work that had not been shown elsewhere in the area.
She said that while Bodley is known for his plein air art, the paintings and drawings featured in the Ion Gallery showcases his more imaginative side.
“We wanted to kind of mix it up and show him in a different light,” Downing said.
Downing’s personal favorite piece in the collection is one entitled “Tree Pillars.” It shows trees that grow out of structures that resemble skyscrapers. She said she enjoys how the drawing plays with scale and how it juxtaposes nature and industry.
Bodley said the idea behind that particular piece was that “people needed trees so badly that they built buildings around them so the tree can grow as it pleases.”
Before attending the Ion gallery opening, Matthew Hoffman had seen Bodley’s plein air work, but had not seen any of his other works. He thought the collection was “very imaginative.”
“Conceptually, I think it’s an interesting amalgam of agriculture and industry,” Hoffman, of Lancaster, Pa., said.
Hoffman also said that Bodley is easy to talk to and understand.
“Everything he does is very original and positive,” he said.