Nature, balance and the female form take shape this month with MACA’s most recent photo gallery.

“The Interbeing Project: The Interface of Woman & Nature” is the latest exhibit on display at McDowell Arts Council during the month of March.

Bonnie Cooper, the project’s photographer, said the 21 images on display merges the naked beauty of a woman’s body with some aspect of nature’s body, to express a “state of oneness” where borders and boundaries have collapsed.

“Each of the models were interviewed about what part of nature they most connected with, then I sought to find images either in my film archives, or I went and took a picture, and composited them,” said Cooper. “I’m a nature photographer, and I love nature. I love the feeling of being in beauty and also finding beauty, and that means finding beauty in almost anything, and you can find beauty everywhere.”

The project, according to the Asheville native, was a 13 month undertaking, debuting at the aSHEville Museum in Nov. 2015.

The images are varied between natural elements, ranging from canyons and fires to open fields and blossoming flowers, with introspective themes that include serenity, purification, fearlessness and vulnerability, all representative of the same “oneness.”

After the photos were completed, Cooper asked the models to reflect in writing on not only the experience of being photographed in the nude but to also consider how, in body and mind, they integrated with nature.

One such image, “Trust”, features a model in various poses reaching outwards in a forest landscape, with each position overlapping one another to create an intertwining unity.

“Bonnie suggested taking multiple exposures of me because trees often grow in community,” the model writes. “When she merged the multiple images of me within a real forest grove, I became one with the grove, giving, receiving, exchanging energy…only more vulnerable because I have no bark!”

Another model, featured in “The Dance”, describes the liberating sensation of water, writing, “Water attracts me because of its fluid and cleansing nature. It reflects my desire to move easily in the stream of life. In this image I merge with spiraling water energy. I become the water, the soft, gentle shape of the water swirl.”

These descriptions and more are compiled in a book, “The Interbeing Project”, on sale along with fine art prints during the exhibit’s run.

“The Interbeing Project” is currently on display from March 1-31. A reception for the gallery will be held March 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at MACA on North Main Street in Marion. For more information on the exhibit or Cooper’s portfolio, visit

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