Artistic venture provides glimpse of Alaskan landscape

by Janet Smith


Two James Madison University faculty members will relate their exploration of one of Earth's harshest, yet beautiful places, The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Alaska, and share the artistic efforts they created to chronicle their adventures.

Gary Freeburg, director of Sawhill Gallery and associate professor of art, design and art history, and Dr. George C. Johnson, professor of media arts and design, will present their photography and documentary film, respectively, Friday, Nov. 2, at two downtown Harrisonburg venues. The event marks the publication of a new book by Freeburg and the premiere of the documentary film Johnson directed.

The men will present "An Artist's Journey to The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes," an evening program at Larkin Arts and Court Square Theater.

5 p.m. - Artist's opening at Larkin Arts
7 p.m. - Open seating at Court Square Theater
7:30 p.m. - Artist's presentation
8 p.m. - Film screening
8:30 p.m. - Question-and-answer session and book and DVD signing

Freeburg's book "The Valley of 10,000 Smokes: Revisiting the Alaskan Sublime" features the photographer's images from several trips to the area of the Alaska Peninsula that was radically changed by the powerful eruption of a volcano, Novarupta, in 1912. Essays by John Eichelberger and Jeanne M. Schaaf, as well as photographs from earlier expeditions, add perspective. Eichelberger is dean of the Graduate School at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research related to volcanology and geothermal energy has taken him to New Mexico and Alaska, where he aided in the growth of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Since 1996 Schaaf has been cultural resource manager for Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks and Preserves, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve and Alagnak Wild River, a program she built from the ground up. Her research has greatly advanced understanding of human occupation and activities in southwestern Alaska.

In the summer of 2008, Freeburg and Johnson spent five days in the valley for Freeburg to photograph more images and for Johnson to film the "other world" landscape and Freeburg at work. Johnson's 30-minute documentary, "An Artist's Journey to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes: The Photography of Gary Freeburg," explores the location and Freeburg's interpretation of the area.

The free event is supported by the Arts Council of the Valley.

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 Oct. 31, 2012

Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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