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  • Laurentidian, in Gallery at 3S Artspace featuring works by Ciara Wright and the King Tide photography exhibit in Lobby Gallery

    PORTSMOUTH — 3S Artspace announces the upcoming exhibit in the Gallery at 3S Artspace: Laurentidian, works by mixed-media installation artist Ciara Wright (Berwick, Maine). The exhibit opens Friday, Jan. 10 with an artist opening reception held the same evening, from 5-8 p.m.

    Laurentidian will be on exhibit through Feb. 2. Exhibits at 3S Artspace are free and open to the public.

    The Gallery will be filled with six large scale, sculpted rocks or as the artist calls them, “Erratics” created from differing materials including Paperclay, foam, Mylar, handmade paper, and granite.

    “The largest Erratic in the installation is the one I am currently making,” said Ciara Wright. “It’s unique in that it is directly inspired by the local geology: Balancing Rock of the Orris Falls Conservation Area in South Berwick. Orris Falls is a natural place that has been protected by the Great Works Regional Land trust for the benefit of the community. The name ‘Balancing Rock’ is pretty much a dead giveaway, but it does not, in any way, diminish the sheer coolness of the Erratic.”

    The work investigates the agency of Land in the era of declining industrialism in a way that is playful, humorous, immersive, and even hands-on for visitors.

    “[Real life glacial] erratics are travelers-- boulders that the last Ice Age’s glaciers-- like the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the case of the Northeast-- picked up as it moved across the ancient terrain and then discarded as the glacier receded, sometimes hundreds of miles from their origin. Erratics exist in a place so parallel to the human condition. We both are often living far from ‘home’ and carry with us the history of our travels. Yet at our core, we retain traces of our homelands. They are subjects that perfectly describe the inseparability of the human/land connection,” said Wright.

    “I want the audience to interact with the Erratics, touch their hide-like surfaces, feel the scarred messages tattooed across them, feel the voices reverberate through their bodies. I want them to share in a single moment that is the culmination, the meeting point, of many different moments in history.”

    While the sculptures will be recognizable as geological forms, the coloring and vocalizations- the rocks will whisper to visitors and to each other-- will give them a sense of otherworldliness, suggesting they exist somewhere between the physical and ethereal world.

    "3S Artspace is thrilled to kick off the 2020 Gallery season on January 10th with local artist, Ciara Wright. The work being premiered at this exhibition not only investigates our relationship to land, but allows visitors of all ages to interact with the art.  Join us to see, hear, and touch the Erratics on display," said Beth Falconer, Executive Director of 3S Artspace.

    With the use of sound and other interactive components, Wright toys with the possibility of manifesting Land’s agency, giving it a ‘voice’ in the contemporary examination of our complicity in a deteriorating natural world.

    “The rocks will be singing and whispering to the audience, and there will be very little that is actual intelligible words...I am sourcing my sounds from all over the world via creative commons platforms like freesound.org and archive.org,” said Wright. “There is a beautiful and manifold collection of high-quality field recordings available for free download online, recorded by audiophiles from all walks of life and all corners of the globe…[enabling me to use] content as diverse and far traveled as glacial erratics themselves. I feel so connected to other people and places when I am listening to these audio files. There is something so intimate about listening to these recordings, thousands of miles away and sometimes years after the sound has been recorded.

    The uploaders sometimes write the most amazing descriptions of how they recorded the sound, the place, the weather, the time of day, what, and who was near them at the time. It really feels like you are sharing in a moment of their life. I hope some of this magic translates into the pieces I am composing for my Erratics.”

    Wright’s Artist Statement says: In 2020, we can no longer ignore the effect the changing environment has upon us. As this major cultural transition envelops us, we must redefine and reevaluate our relationship to Land, not only as fuel for the raw engine of capitalism, but in its capacity as a cultural reliquary for memory and narrative.

    “Modern times have brought consumption of land to a whole different level at the same time we are drifting away from an existence that recognizes the impact of our environments. As we further embrace the technological age...our communication and daily existence are rapidly moving further away from the physical, while we are still so dependent on physical industrial systems that destroy the land and poison our environments, and effectively, ourselves,” Wright said.

    “I am interested in the potential for hybridized virtual-natural environments, where technology is used to restore agency to the land and allow us to once again enter into a more reciprocal relationship, with technology operating as a liaison for this interaction. In Laurentidian, I return to cave painting, the graffiti tag, the gravestone inscription, the land being the site for human communication, a space to share your narrative with the world.”

    “I want visitors of all ages to take away a curiosity for the world around them,” said Wright. “The work I make, with all of its shimmer and make-believe, is my attempt to distill the way I experience the land as a space of deep magic, narrative, and history. A location where I feel most directly connected to myself and the people who have lived and died long before I was born.”


    Opening and running concurrently with Laurentidian is the King Tide photography exhibit in the Lobby Gallery at 3S Artspace. Raising awareness of New Hampshire’s rising tides, the exhibit features ten standout photographers who participated in the 2019 King Tide Photo Contest run by the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup: David Murray, Jennifer Dubois, Kathy Motyka Lavigne, Rich Beauchesne, Rockingham Planning Commission, Samara Ebinger, Michael Drooker, Bob McGrath, Jay Steere, and Michael Kent.

    The term “King Tide” refers to the highest high tides that occur when the Earth, moon, and sun are aligned, and the sun’s gravity helps tug on the oceans a little more, causing the tides to be higher. These extreme high tides give us a glimpse of what sea-level rise will look like in our region.

    “I hope viewers come away with a sense of urgency and realization that rising sea levels and resulting flooding are not only issues predicted for the future, but issues we currently have to deal with which will only become more troublesome unless we take action,” said Ben Sweeney, NHCAW member and NOAA Coastal Management Fellow with the NH Coastal Program and Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership.

    Each year, the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup invites citizens to grab their cameras and document these extreme high tides during its annual King Tide Photo Contest. Photographing King Tide is an effective way to help coastal communities identify areas prone to flooding, visualize potential impacts of sea-level rise, and plan for the future.

    There will be a supplemental talk and Q&A on the subject of King Tide on January 15th at 7pm featuring speaker Thomas O’Donovan (P.E., Director, Water Division, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services) who will share his experience responding to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. O’Donovan will offer thoughts about how Hurricane Maria can be viewed by coastal New Hampshire, in the wake of the fall King Tides and as sea levels continue rising and exacerbating existing storm risk. The talk will be held in the Performance Space at 3S and is free and open to the public.



    Opening Artist Reception for Laurentidian and King Tide: Friday, January 10, from 5-8pm. Free and open to the public. 


    Exhibition Dates for  Laurentidian and King Tide: January 10 - February 2

    More info on  Laurentidian: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/laurentidian

    More info on King Tide: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/king-tide
    and also:


    Visit 3SARTS.ORG for more information. 

    3S Artspace
    319 Vaughan St. Portsmouth, NH 03801 ---------------------------------------- 

    About 3S Artspace:
    Curiosity.  Creativity. Community.

    Through the unique lens of contemporary arts experiences, 3S Artspace invites divergent perspectives and encourages lively discourse centered around issues of today.

    The Gallery at 3S Artspace is an incubator of ideas, facilitator of original content, and is committed to presenting a diverse representation of contemporary visual artists. Each year the gallery presents exhibitions that highlight unprecedented innovation across disciplines, celebrate artistic excellence, encourage lively discourse, and foster an unwavering appreciation for the vital role that art plays in our community.

    About the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup:
    The New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (NHCAW) is a collaboration of 20+ organizations working to ensure coastal watershed communities are resourceful, ready, and resilient to the impacts of extreme weather and long term climate change.