Mar 262007
Authors: Bob Shipton

Artist Susan Point knows that the distribution of frogs ranges vastly from tropic to sub-arctic regions of the globe. Most species are found in tropical rainforests and some are thought to magically turn into princes when kissed.

The new exhibit featured in the Clara Hatton Gallery inside the Visual Arts Building, “Susan Point: A Point in Time,” which focuses on the effects of urban development and global warming on frogs, was unveiled today.

Frogs are just one of the creatures inhabiting the Coast Salish lands and it is no coincidence that they are part of the theme of Point’s exhibit.

Coast Salish refers to Native American cultures in British Columbia and Washington state. Point grew up on the Musqueam Indian Reserve near Vancouver, a place where thousands of frog voices would announce to the people that it was spring. The Coast Salish say spring is when “the frogs start singing again” and know it is winter when the “frogs stop singing.”

That distinction is becoming more difficult to make thanks to urban development and global warming, which appear to “end the chorus,” according to the sentiments of Point’s work, as examined by curator Peter Macnair.

The collection includes silkscreen prints, wood-block carvings, pottery and what the artist refers to as “repeating wall murals,” panels of cast forton that are connected to create visual movement and intellectual intrigue, according to Macnair.

Point uses visual punning and unique perspectives that offer examiners a surprise. Calculating the number of potential frogs in several printings is a difficult task.

The focus on frogs is a lament for the frog’s habitat, which has all but been destroyed due to urban development and global warming, according to Macnair.

Point’s work is featured in the Vancouver International Airport, a children’s hospital in Seattle and the Victoria Convention Centre.

Macnair will be giving a public lecture April 4 at 5 p.m. at the University Center for Arts at the Griffin Concert Hall titled, “Susan Point: Inspiration, Innovation and Influence.” A reception will be held April 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Hatton Gallery for Point and Macnair.

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