Emory Report
March 17, 2008
Volume 60, Number 23

On view
“Collecting Excursions,” an installation by Linda Armstrong, director of the Visual Arts Program, will be on view in the Emory Visual Arts Gallery from March 20 through April 24, with an opening reception on Thursday, March 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be a special Earth Day reception for Emory Friends of Visual Arts on April 22 at
7 p.m., featuring an artist talk and music by Klimchak
For more information, visit www.visualarts.emory.edu.


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March 17, 2008
Casting mushrooms in a new light

By Mary Catherine Johnson

When Linda Armstrong is not teaching classes or working on an exhibition in her sculpture studio in Grant Park, the director of the Emory Visual Arts Program may be found hiking through the woods with the Mushroom Club of Georgia, clutching a well-worn copy of the Audubon Society’s “Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.” Some of what the club members find on their excursions becomes an evening’s dinner; Armstrong uses her findings in art exhibitions.

Armstrong’s exhibition, “Collecting Excursions,” is a culmination of many years of environmental research and experimentation within Georgia, as well as an exploration of tree bark and mushroom specimens she collected while participating in a residency at the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers in South Africa.
“Transporting foreign bark and mushrooms back to the United States can be tricky,” she says. “I sometimes feel like an artist outlaw.”

In addition to the specimens from South Africa, the exhibition includes a dead tree that Armstrong found in Grant Park: “The tree was a victim of Atlanta’s recent drought, but through bandages and a symbolic healing ritual, I will give gallery visitors the opportunity to experience a revitalized tree in a way they have never seen before.”

“Collecting Excursions” is Armstrong’s first exploration of bronze casting. She created molds of mushrooms she collected, and then handed them over to a master caster and mold builder in Utah to capture the delicate nuances and patterns of the original molds. This process is very expensive, particularly for the bronze itself, and she says she would not have been able to do it without the support of a University Research Council grant this year.

“The results are temporary mushroom blooms solidified in bronze, making them timeless,” she explains. “I am thrilled with how they turned out, and am extremely grateful to the URC for facilitating this unique form of research.”