Updated: Nov 10, 2022
A NEW SHOWING OF WORK BY Betsy Youngquist & R. Scott Long
OPENING November 11, 7-9pm
Artist Talk 6pm
RISE UP is a study of endangerment. We are all endangered. We feel it; Some more than others however. It is a constant that drives us, but to what heights and depths? Betsy & Scott's work is an abiding observation of the interconnectedness and interdependence of life on planet Earth. In this endeavor they strive to shed light and hope on specific land & air species living in constant threat. Meet the creatures below & join us for Betsy's discussion and the opening reception at Myth Gallery.
Omni by Betsy Youngquist
Omni represents the over 500 species of "Critically Endangered" frogs. The world is currently experiencing an amphibian extinction crisis. Frogs are endangered due to human activity including deforestation, urbanization, roads separating migration areas, agriculture, surface drainage systems, pollution, diseases, invasive species, human intervention, and climate change. As I write these words, I am reminded that we are the caretakers of the planet. I believe all life is interdependent and interconnected. Stewardship is our gift as humans, supporting this beautiful planet we all inhabit together. The boiling water metaphor is also a poignant example of what we as humans are doing to our planet. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in lukewarm water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly. Omni is just a treasure. A long journey, she once had a red face and large pink beads on her back. I needed to listen to what she truly needed to be, so a green head and eyes on the back were her final outcome, and yes there is actually a red beaded head under the now green head. Our lady frog was created using a mosaic process, and Omni was carved by R. Scott Long.
Rusty by Betsy Youngquist
6x8x10.5 (with the base the height is 15 inches) Little Rusty's bright-eyed big brother Rusty was created by Betsy Youngquist and Scott Long. Being the only federally endangered bee, Rusty's survival is an important component to our ecosystem's health. Our bee friend is identified by the rusty patch on his back. This bee is particularly dear to my heart as his wellbeing is threatened by a local airport expansion through a rare remnant prairie in my hometown of Rockford, IL. As bee survival advocates and those desiring growth at an airport battle over different interests, this artist roots for the RUSTY PATCHED BUMBLE BEE. Our planet is an interrelated web of life, and bees are a precious part of our survival. My heart hopes our remnant prairie can be saved. Go Rusty!! The structure beneath the beads is an original carving by Scott. The rest of this bee's surface is encrusted with a myriad of old and new beads and stones in a mosaic process. All doll parts are porcelain and very vintage. Ted Andrews’ research maintains that bees appear in many mythologies around the world. Hinduism considers the Bee to symbolize Vishnu, Krishna, or even Kama—the god of Love. In ancient Egypt, the Bee symbolized royality. In Greece, it was part of the symbolism of the Eleusinian Mysteries. To the Celts, Bee symbolized hidden wisdom. And to Christians, Bee symbolized Christ.
In more modern times, science was for many years confounded by the bee, perceiving it as an insect that was ‘too heavy to fly’, and yet it did. It earned the reputation of being the Rocky Balboa of the insect kingdom: able to “do the impossible.” Like Rocky, Bee became an image for all who saw themselves as facing impossible odds and yet were determined to win.
Rocky II by Betsy Youngquist
This beaded creature is supposed to be the critically endangered Carpentarian Rock-rat. An Australian native, this seed and fruit eating small rat is found in very limited areas. They are associated with monsoon thickets (dry rainforest) occurring on rocky slopes within large gorge systems. The threats to these nocturnal creatures includes predators, fires, and habitat deterioration. From internet research it appears there are about 1000 of these rare creatures left on planet Earth. The Carpentarian Rock-rat lives in the wild and does not interact with humans. Now, as art often goes, the finished beaded piece does not represent the rat's appearance very well. The rock rats have a different skull shape and fur on the tail. From spending time in the gallery, it seems most people see an opossum in our rat friend. Rat or opossum, particular varieties of both are critically endangered in Australia. The Leadbeater's possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) is a critically endangered opossum. Rocky has been grouted using a mosaic process. He has a sweet personality, and is mostly covered in an overlapping bugle bead technique.
2x7x3 Fran, the San Francisco garter snake is considered to be one of the most beautiful snakes in North America. This subspecies is extremely shy, difficult to locate and capture, and quick to flee to water or cover when disturbed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stated that many locations that previously had healthy populations of garter snakes are now in decline due to land development pressure and the filling of wetlands over the last sixty years.
Designated as an endangered subspecies since the year 1967, some researchers estimate that there are only 1,000 to 2,000 adult snakes of the subspecies left. San Francisco garter snakes feed mainly on amphibians, including the Sierran tree frog and California red-legged frog. However, the threatened California red-legged frog is considered the most important part of their diet. This results in the unique situation of one endangered species depending on a threatened species for its livelihood. Snake as a spirit animal is symbolic of healing powers from a connection with the earth, adjusting to situations and environments, rebirth, wisdom, resurrection, transforming, and gaining new traits and knowledge. In Greek mythology the Rod of Asclepius symbol, also known as the Staff of Asclepius, is comprised of two main elements: a rod with a serpent wrapped around it. It is an ancient Greek symbol that is associated with the medical field. The god of healing and medicine in ancient Greek religion/mythology was Asclepius. He had 5 daughters who were goddesses associated with certain aspects of medicine/healing. Often connected with fear, snakes are an important part of our ecosystem. As caretakers of the planet it is important that we recognize the interdependence of all life on planet Earth. Little Fran is a sweet, reclusive reptile who just wants to thrive.
The Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly Project is a multiple piece installation created by Betsy and sculptor R. Scott Long for the Racine Art Museum’s 2010 exhibition “Eccentric Insects” in Racine,WI.
Nymph on a Log Phase
A montage of information on the creative gestational process of the dragonfly and it’s life cycle thus far is available on YouTube through a video series Betsy implemented in order to chronicle the journey of the dragonfly to the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin in 2011. As with anything so beautiful the narrative has many surprises and also many magical connections. In total the video series spans ten weeks but we recommend watching the first three videos, weeks 2-4, as she explores and explains in spectacular detail the components and the assemblage ahead. In addition, week 10, the last video is an illuminating behind the scenes glimpse of the dragonfly’s public debut as Betsy installs the series and speaks with RAM Executive Director and Curator of Collections, Bruce Pepich, during gallery night in downtown Racine, WI. The Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly indigenous to Betsy’s area of Illinois has many magical connections to New Orleans. For example, when watching the videos, note that the altar within the Voodoo Spiritual Temple shown on N Rampart Street, which caught fire a few years ago, featured a postcard of Betsy’s work and some soil she had sent to High Priestess Miriam upon request from the banks of the Rock River in Wisconsin, a crucial p[art of Betsy’s creative journey of discovery. Black Hawk, referenced in the video for week 7 at 1:20 is a hauntingly relevant tale of a Sac Indigenous leader who led 60 of his people in a holding action against 700 United States militia known as the Battle of Wisconsin Heights in 1832 enabling them all to continue on for 12 more days before being slain or perishing while attempting to cross the Mississippi River. Secondly, the man Betsy is speaking with at Jazz Fest later on within the same video is Ronald Lewis, who sadly succumbed to Covid-19 in 2020, from The House of Dance and Feathers on Tupelo Street. She had gifted him with a beaded hand featuring a glass eye which is now on display in his museum in the ninth ward bringing the abundant and interconnected cycle full circle. The dragonfly in it’s nymph state is a beautiful representation of what it is to be before we transform into our fragile and temporary yet truest and most beautiful versions of ourselves.
The Nymph on the Log Component
All other components of this exhibition have now been privately collected.
Read more about the Hines Emerald Dragonfly Project Here
Watch the Process of Creation Here