Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. Junk mail. Newspapers. Pizza boxes with little bits of mozzarella still stuck to the bottom.
They’re all pieces of Tim Gaudreau’s trash; they’re all featured inindividual photos; and they’re all plastered on the back room walls ofthe George Marshall Store Gallery.
Eco-artist Gaudreau was chosen as the recipient of the 2005New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Piscataqua Region ArtistAdvancement Grant - which means his work is now $30,000 richer. The OldYork Historical Society’s gallery began its 2006 exhibition seasonSaturday with "Momentum IV," featuring work by Gaudreau and the eightfinalists.
Among the finalists are five photographers, Nancy GraceHorton, Barbara Rita Jenny, Scott Kuckler, Douglas Prince and Alexandrade Steiguer; and three painters, Sean Beavers, Sherry Palmer and KimBernard.
A reception for the artists was held Saturday evening at the gallery - which quickly filled to no-elbow-room capacity.
"Tonja in the Kitchen," by artist Nancy Grace Horton is one of the manyart features seen at the George Marshall Store Gallery in York.
Photo by Amy Root-Donle
Last year, 51 artists from 24 communities submitted artwork andproposals for the fourth annual grant, and two independent juriesreviewed the submissions.
In their deliberations, Molly Colman of the New HampshireCharitable Foundation said jurors consider who the grant will have thebiggest impact on.
"It’s about trying to help someone move ahead, make the leap," Colman said.
Their choice of Gaudreau - a finalist last year - had a lot to do with the perception that this is his hour.
"A lot of time, it’s the timing," Colman said. "He was reallyable to present a vision of what he wanted to do. A lot of things arecoming together for him."
What’s coming together for Gaudreau now is increased exposurefor his eco-art - "conceptual art to raise consciousness about theenvironment."
Like the pictures lining the back walls, called "Self-Portraitas Revealed by Trash: 365 days of photographing everything I threwout." From April 2004 to May 2005, Gaudreau did just that, collecting5,000 images - including recycled items, since they, too, add to thewaste stream.
"I found out so many things about myself I didn’t expect," he said.
He considers himself an ecologically conscious consumer and wassurprised to see the amount of stuff he threw out - much of it beingconvenience food packaging and plastic bottles. He came to hate plasticand started cutting back wherever he could.
"Self-Portrait" was created for this exhibit, which continuesthrough June 4, but he is still in the early stages of his grant period- after spending a few weeks simply in shock.
"It’s one thing to imagine what you would do with $30,000," he said. "It’s real and so big - you don’t want to squander it."
Following what he established in his proposal, Gaudreau iscontinuing to do public work, speaking to groups in workshops andtraveling nationally in the eco-art network.
"One of the big things is I’ve been invited to and insertedinto a dialogue about (creating) environmentally responsible art," hesaid.
Meanwhile, in the main room of the gallery, reception visitorsadmire the finalists’ work. One woman explains photography compositionto a friend, pointing to the crest of a wave in Alexandra de Steiguer’s"Sea Smoke and Wave."
"Your focus goes here," she says.
Another woman pauses before Douglas Prince’s "Magnolia," a digital color print on canvas, turning to her male companion.
"Isn’t that beautiful?" she says.
And through it all, Scott Kuckler wanders the room.
"Some I really like, some I don’t," he says of his fellow finalists’ work.
This was the first year the photographer applied for the grant.
"I wanted to experiment with other alternative photography mediums," he said.
He calls his work "photographic Rorschach tests."
"Everyone sees something different than you do," Kuckler said. "I like that. It’s the part of my work I’m most proud of."
For his part, Gaudreau said he is pleased to be in such good company.
"I’m proud to be part of this group of artists who are doinggreat work," he said. "I got the award this time, but each of themdeserved it."