Explore the textures, patterns of the Grand Canyon in SOPAC multimedia exhibition

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Imagine holding the vastness of the 277-mile Grand Canyon in your hand. That is precisely what internationally renowned artist Marite Vidales has achieved in her exhibition, “REVEALED: Intimate Renderings of the Grand Canyon,” on display from March 10 to May 1 in The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, 1 SOPAC Way in South Orange.

In May 2021, Vidales spent several days on the southern rim of Grand Canyon National Park observing the colors, textures and patterns of the landscape. After being awestruck by the immensity of the canyon, and upon picking up a piece of pine bark, she realized that the patterns on the inside of the bark emulated the topography of the canyon.

“The canyon’s natural beauty is right there on the back of the bark,” Vidales said. “It’s as if the trees have sketched the canyon for only themselves to see. All I need to do is to remember and paint.”

Each of the 46 intimate works, some as small as 6 inches, are painted pine barks set in tonal shadow frames, activating questions about landscape, environment and her own media. By rendering her memories and impressions of the national park on painted barks, Vidales creates a dialogue between the natural patterns found inside pieces of bark and the vistas of the Grand Canyon.

“I was immediately entranced by the complexity of the layers, the use of colors and textures to convey the contours and the sheer beauty of each piece,” gallery curator Jeremy Moss said.

The opening reception for the show will be held in the Iris Gallery on Thursday, March 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. and is the kickoff to an entire evening of interrelated events as SOPAC honors Women’s History Month.

Photos Courtesy of SOPAC