Stacie Logue describes her upcoming Earth Spirits exhibit as the result of a fateful chain of events.
The painter, ceramicist and assemblage artist is one of 14 resident artists at the Sea Breeze Art Gallery, and in anticipation of her turn as featured artist, had been working on a paneled piece commemorating the seasons as four ladies with distinct personalities. Comparing those initial sketches to the final product, it’s clear that she was meant to go on a trip to New Mexico with gallery curator Sandra McCullough before the piece was completed.
That’s not to say that the sketches were sub-par by any means; they reflect Logue’s parallel career in the theater, and now seem to be upbeat costume designs for a grandiose stage production. But when the two women stopped in at the Navajo Nation, Logue was taken with contemporary reproductions of the kachina dolls; Native American artists had translated their heritage into completely modern aesthetic representations. Logue returned to her studio with a new direction for her work.
She hadn’t been home long when the Vanity Fair Green Issue passed through her hands. The cover photo would mark the first and probably only time Julia Roberts, Al Gore and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. would cross paths in front of a lens, and the entire magazine pays tribute to activists and celebrities who are out to salvage the world (our own Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia is featured). Among the photos is a blurb about the Conservation Fund’s Go Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate each individual’s “carbon foot print”; that is to say, the CO2 output that’s a natural byproduct of driving and living.
Go Zero does two things on its Web site (accessible through www.conservationfund.org): It recommends the number of trees needed to counteract a person’s CO2 emissions, then it volunteers to plant those trees for a donation. A press line-up of Go Zero enthusiasts includes Hollywood personalities Ed Begley Jr., Nia Vardalos, Daryl Hannah and Minnie Driver.
Soon after, Logue was invited to hear Nobel Prize-winning Wangari Maathai speak at UC Santa Barbara. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement nearly 30 years ago to reforest Kenya, and continues to be a fixture in both environmental and civil rights campaigns.
After Maathai’s talk, which focused on the interconnectedness of the environment and economic and social justice, Logue realized that she had found the missing element of her upcoming show.
Much of Logue’s work is a reflection of human interaction with the natural or supernatural. Her ceramic work addresses cross-cultural mythology, depicting mermaids or wood sprites, trees possessing human characteristics, so it was fitting that her exhibit should be a dialogue about delicate, symbiotic relationships in our ecosystem.
Logue contacted the Conservation Fund, which runs the Go Zero program, and arranged a meeting with executive director Christine Fanning at the gallery. Fanning shared Logue’s enthusiasm, and agreed to provide three laptops and a Go Zero representative for opening night of Logue’s exhibit.
It is Logue’s hope that guests at her reception — which, she is quick to add, will include organic refreshments — will be inspired to log on at one of the available terminals and calculate the cost of karmic realignment. By now, of course, Logue has “gone zero” herself, and although the price of atoning for one’s environmental sins might sound astronomical, for Logue it was a mere $75. She plans to go a step further, and will donate 10 percent of her sales to Go Zero.
For those who can’t make it, the Go Zero calculator online provides visitors the ability to calculate their carbon emissions based on the amount of electricity, natural gas, heating oil and propane they use; the garbage they produce, and the recycling that comes of it; the distance driven in a given year and the number of miles flown in a year.
According to Logue, the Conservation Fund has been in contact with Ventura’s mayor’s office to challenge city hall to “go zero” as well.
The presentation of Logue’s art will highlight the beauty of the naturally occuring; she partnered with landscaper Matt Clinton of Ojai’s Silver Fox gardens to bring in trees and mulch. Stepping into the gallery for her exhibit will feel like you’re coming in to go out, she explains.
“People have said before, nature is your church. It’s kind of where I find my spirit, the spirit that’s bigger than me, Mother Nature.” Fittingly, she plans to erect a mixed-media altar to Earth spirits along one wall of the gallery.
Further, Logue’s work honors the communal spirit of the 14 resident artists of the gallery, whom she describes as people who “wanted to come out and work with their tribe.”
“There’s an amazing connectedness between everybody, they’re very supportive,” she says. “It hasn’t been that much of a struggle for me.”