Invited Artist Series explores the effects of fracking in Pennsylvania

LOCK HAVEN – The Clinton County Arts Council will open the doors to its latest installment of the Invited Artist Series with a reception from 6-9 p.m. Friday at the Station Gallery, 2 E. Bald Eagle St.

The exhibit will feature the work of Steven Rubin, associate professor of art and photography at the School of Visual Arts, Penn State University.

The Invited Artist Series was created in an effort to bring highly skilled artists with different viewpoints, new and interesting media, and professional skill and talent to the region, according to Clinton County Arts Council vice president Carol Ann Simon Cillo.

“The series was created in the hopes of widening the offering of ideas to residents and visitors of central Pennsylvania,” she said.

The exhibitions are sprinkled throughout the gallery season, which shows 15 exhibits over the calendar year, with a new show opening about every four weeks.

“Each year, we have shown five separate (Invited Artist) exhibits,” she said. “Sometimes we will show two or three artists in the space to create a certain exhibit. They are curated to encourage creativity and expand the outlook of visitors to the gallery.”

Cillo and her committee canvas the work of artists in the surrounding area, as well as those outside of Pennsylvania, often looking at professional fine artists and art professors at local colleges and universities.

“Mr. Rubin has been a renowned photojournalist, and this series touches on the subject of ‘Fracking in Pennsylvania,’ with an opportunity to have viewers view and discuss their own varied viewpoints,” Cillo said. “Other series completed by the artist also examine the effects of certain events in the lives of rural communities.”

An artist for 40 years, Rubin describes himself as “a long-time social documentary photographer and photojournalist-turned-photography professor.” His curriculum vitae demonstrates more than 60 selected solo and group exhibitions, expanding from all around the country, to England, France, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, India, Singapore and Costa Rica.

His “Fractured State” exhibition is an ongoing photographic essay documenting the people and places affected by the Marcellus Shale gas boom in Pennsylvania, according to Rubin’s artist statement.

“Encompassing multiple counties across the Commonwealth, the project considers a broad range of stakeholders with diverse and frequently divisive experiences and perspectives on gas development that materialize as political, social, economic and physical divisions,” he said. “The photographs feature those who work in the gas industry and those who work against it, those who benefit from drilling and those who suffer its negative effects, those who advocate for drilling, and those who are deeply troubled by a skewed calculus favoring short-term gain over long-term cost.”

While Rubin prefers to let his viewers decide what is special about the exhibition, he did say that the “photographs offer what can only be a partial view of an entangled reality, much of which is not visibly accessible and remains hard to discern and difficult to photograph – hidden underfoot, or behind no-trespassing signs, in farmland not lost to repossession, or afloat in waterways, leached into wells, interred below ground or in gaseous form invisible to the naked eye.”

The photographs, he added, “invite viewers to look closely, to notice and think about what’s pictured and what’s not, what’s gained and what’s lost, what came before and what comes next.”

Rubin’s exhibit will run through May 15. For more information, visit www.stationgalleryccac.org or call 570-748-0949.