2019 – The 4 Elements


The 4 Elements
January 18 – March 10, 2019

The theme of the four elements (water, earth, wind and fire) is used to unify the work of four artists who explore the topic of the environment and our relationship to the natural world. Each artist’s work represents one of the four elements and uses a different medium. This artwork strives to evoke thought, conversation and action related to environmental topics.

The 4 Elements will be on display in the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery Jan 18 – March 10, 2019.


Photography by Diane Guthrie
“Life, like water, is fluid and can change quickly,” said Guthrie. “Anything is possible. I attempt to capture the essence of water in a dewdrop, a tear or in condensation. I invite the viewer to look at my photographs and experience the different shapes, colors and sensations contained in a single drop of water.

“Water can represent many things, including life, intelligence, wisdom, power, softness and pliancy. I hope that you will find tranquility and healing through these images.”


Ceramic Sculpture by Melissa McCormick
“One of my most memorable experiences was a time when I was lost in the woods,” said McCormick. “The sense of presence and connectedness that I felt made a lasting impression on me. I am fascinated by the earth, growing things, and animals but yet feel disconnected from that natural world in my daily life.

“The Plants with Pants series is my way of exploring my relationship with nature, paying homage to the power of nature and connecting to the natural world around me.”


Stained Glass by Shanna Wagner
“In the last few years I have found inspiration in the wind,” said Wagner. “Growing up in a rural part of Douglas County, I spent many hours walking the prairie felling energized by its powerful flow.

“My designs interpret the multiple layers of horizon to be the force of the air and the colors to create movement and intensity. I also enjoy using blown roundels, fused glass, enameled glass, bevels and faceted jewels to mimic the play of light off objects and particles in the wind.

“I am passionate about using alternative sources of energy and find wind turbines an exciting technology.”


Solar Plate Etching by Connie Ehrlich
“Solar plate etching takes a 15th century art form, intaglio printing, and brings it into the 21st century,” said Ehrlich. “It turns a caustic process that uses unhealthy chemicals into a safe, non-toxic medium. Solar plate etching is a printmaking process that uses UV light, rather than toxic acid, to etch the plates. When the image is complete and the plate is ready to be etched, it is exposed to the sun or a UV light for a short period of time. After the exposure, the plate is then ‘washed out’ thoroughly with water and again exposed to UV light to harden the plate. This finished the etching process. After the plate is etched, I print images using Akua Inks, which are also environmentally friendly.

“Like fire, this series of prints has an energetic component. It has a life force that undulates and changes. Sometimes subtle. Sometimes bold. I use movement, color, line and shape to create an organic environment. These entanglements of lines and shapes create a formal chaos that becomes a cohesive whole. My work is not preplanned. I start working with no intentional outcome in mind. A natural and instinctive force guides me as I work.”

Exhibition Photos

Programs and Events in the Gallery

4 Elements Opening Reception
Fri, Jan 18 | 5-8pm
Meet featured artists Diane Guthrie, Connie Ehrlich, Melissa McCormick and Shanna Wagner, and make your own collage from recycled pieces of art in our “upcycle, recycle, reuse” pop-up program. Reuse photograph and print scraps as well as clay and glass tiles to make your own elemental work of art.

Solar Plate Demo
Sat, Jan 26 | 2-4pm
See how the sun helps artist Connie Ehrlich make her unique printing plates. Pull a print of your own using some of Connie’s plates.

Stained Glass Demo
Wed, Feb 13 | 6:30-8pm
Watch artist Shanna Wagner work on one of her majestic stained glass pieces. Discover how she incorporates the elements of “Wind” in her work.

Ceramic Demo
Sun, Feb 24 | 2-4pm
Discover how artist Melissa McCormick creates her wonderful pieces. Prepare to get a little dirty as you can play and create using clay.

Photographing Your Backyard
Tue, Mar 5 | 6:30-8pm
Photographer and Master Gardener Diane Guthrie will share tips and tricks to photograph your own backyard wonderlands.


Hello, I'm your friendly neighborhood Curator of Exhibitions. I have the amazing job of creating, building and presenting wonderful art exhibits for you at the library's Alice C. Sabatini Art Gallery.