EcoArtSpace

A Meditation on Place to Cure “Nature Deficit Disorder”

State of Nature: Picturing Indiana Biodiversity
Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

It’s quite a treat to see an art exhibition (online), which encourages an immersive experience at the interstice of the sciences and the arts. State of Nature, on view at The Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University in Bloomington through November 18, 2020, presents artworks juxtaposed with artifacts including fossils and extinct taxidermy animals, along with video works and artist interviews. Many of the artist’s processes are embedded in years of observation and interaction with their Indiana environs. For example, Bonnie Sklarski’s painting titled Shoots (above), is a study of a creek embankment, and Maria Whiteman’s installation titled Living with Mycelia(below), presents photography as scientific observations of fungi, alongside live specimens, and to educate the importance of the role of mycelia within the forest ecosystem.

Maria Whiteman, Living with Mycelia, 2020 

The artists included in the exhibition successfully express how to present artistic observations to a public, including ecoartspace members Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris. Also included are Suzanne Anker, Joianne Bittle, Lucinda Devlin, Dornith Doherty, Margaret Dolinsky, Roger P. Hangarter, Kate Houlne, Dakotah Konicek, John McNaughton, Martha MacLeish, David Morrison, Joyce Ogden, Ahmed Ozsever, Casey Roberts, Bonnie Sklarski, Gene Stratton-Porter, Mark Tribe, Caleb Weintraub and Maria Whiteman. 

Geological cores above and below Ahmed Osever’s  Shallow Cores, 2020
Joyce Ogden, Heaven and Earth, 2016 and Mound Calendar, 2017

The whole exhibition is wrought with fantastic samples and reflections on the natural world in Indiana: its disappearances, like the Jefferson Ground Sloth full skeleton, and the ecological histories that are present in the environment. The process of observation is presented through scientific geologic cores that are used to draw conclusions about the history of a land, presented in close proximity to artistic interpretations. Ahmed Osever recreates stylized core samples from an industrialized environment in Shallow Cores (above). These juxtapositions tell the stories of environmental and human impacts, as well as the overlapping processes between the sciences and many art practices. An incredible example of this was Joyce Ogden’s work titled Heaven and Earth and Mound Calendar (above). These works are the result of a major lifestyle change and deep interactions with the soils in southern Indiana where Ogden lives and where she has built her studio. Though Joyce’s garden soil is not the best for planting, she uses its material properties to describe a cyclical calendar, one that revolves around the moon and changes each month to reflect Native spiritual practices derived from the lands she currently lives on. 

Matterport 360 snapshot of sloth and Weintraub paintings

The works located in the far right gallery (above) embody an exchange between observable environment and expressive output. Viewers are presented with geological cores that recount the thousands of years of history even before humankind set foot in Indiana. Next, dried plants and wasps nests that are, arguably, nature’s artworks. Two expressive and surreal scenes painted as hypothetical realities by Caleb Weintraub, are stand out with their cool tones and thick paint representing a human-built environment overrun with plants. These images embody the essence of the exhibition: a vision or meditation on how the arts and scientific observation can merge to compliment each other, combining expression and observation of the environment around us, therefore creating both proof and idealism. 

Saylor/Morris, Eclipse, 2014 (far wall and below)

This combination is especially relatable in the work of Saylor/Morris, located in the center space (above), whose mesmerizing video projection Eclipse presents a flock of birds which become the growing leaves on a tree that then ascend into the atmosphere. One could read this work as both the moment of the Holocene era, where there was maximum biodiversity on the planet prior to climate change, but also as the growing human population and its effects as overcrowding forces an ascension to heaven for many species. 

A fantastic example of both the collaboration of the arts and the sciences as a meditation on the place, known as Indiana—the State of Nature: Picturing Indiana Biodiversity provides a platform for reflection for the future of environmental art. It is a warning and a celebration as stated in the exhibition introduction, “With the rapidly growing urbanization and pervasive reliance on technology, humanity is becoming more and more alienated from the biological system we are part of. Our connection to our ecosystem has become far more tenuous and many Hoosiers have become content to view nature virtually. Many also think that to see nature it is necessary to travel to the type of “exotic” locations often featured in “nature” shows on television. The growing detachment of humans from the natural world has become known as ‘nature deficit disorder’.”

Nature stands just beyond our doorsteps, and now Indiana’s examples on our computer monitors. State of Nature has presented an engaging perspective on how to provoke a cure.

The exhibition can be viewed online in Matterport 360 format HERE.

(Top photo: Bonnie Sklarski, Shoots, 2003)

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ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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ecoartspace: member exhibitions

The Day After Tomorrow: Art in Response to Turmoil and Hope is a group exhibition including Constance Mallinson. Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah. Through December 19, 2020. Online 360 Matterport viewing and audio tour. 

State of Nature: Picturing Indiana Biodiversity is a group exhibition including Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris. Ezkenazi School of Architecture and Design, Indiana University Bloomington. Through November 18, 2020. Online 360 Matterport viewing.

Trouble Under the Big Trees: Linda MacDonald at the Creative Arts Gallery, College of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA. Through November 13, 2020. Virtual online viewing.

Bankok Biennial 2020 Cloud 9 Pavillion including Seren Morrey through November 21, 2020. Virtual studios online.

5 Facets of Humanity: Intra-human, Meta-human, Post-human, Supra-human, Trans-human, a group exhibition including Gary Brewer and Virginia Katz. Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA), Los Angeles, CA. Through December 12, 2020. 

Seedscapes: Future-Proofing Nature. A group exhibition including Sant Khalsa. Impressions Gallery, Bradford, United Kingdom. Through December 12, 2020. 

Rising Tides: Contemporary Art and The Ecology of Water, including Emily BrownDiane BurkoStacy Levy. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA. Through January 10, 2021.

She is Here, Studio Artist Program, Retrospective Group Show includes a video installation titled Onar (repair the dream) by Pam Longobardi. Atlanta Contemporary, GA.Through January 31, 2021.

Broken Poems of Butterflies, solo exhibition by Etsuko Ichikawa using radioactive materials to shape artworks and video footage of haunting beauty. Jordan Schntizer Museum of Art, Pullman, WA. Through March 20, 2021.

Do you have an exhibition coming up? Please email the information to info@ecoartspace.org to be included in upcoming newsletters.

Above: Constance MallinsonFor All and for None, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 77 x 112 inches. Installation view at Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah. (painting on far left wall)

Book Review: Earth Emotions

Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World by Glenn A. Albrecht

Albrecht, who is an Australian professor, environmental philosopher and farmer, diagnosing the condition of despair afflicting people around the world. He coined the now widely recognized term solastalgia —a homesickness for the place you love as it is desolated before your eyes. The experience is not new or unique to our times; colonized and conquered people have experienced it throughout history. Albrecht makes clear that humans have always had to balance negative and positive emotions to survive and make sense of the world they lived in, that both types of emotions were necessary. But today the negative ones have come to dominate.

Earth Emotions begins with an autobiography illuminating how his love of nature was cultivated by his family in south western Australia, where in the 1950s and ‘60s, he became intimate with the plants and animals surrounding his suburban home and his grandparents farm. Some of his sense of standing apart from the general consensus is linked to the fact that — because his father has some Sri Lankan ancestry — he was bullied for not being “white” enough. Albrecht has always felt an affinity with Aboriginal culture and focuses on some of their ancestral ways of managing the continent, which should be recognized as valuable.

The Anthropocene world system exploits and dominates nature; it has meant the extinction of many species and looks toward our own extinction. To transcend it, Albrecht proposes a Symbiocene. This is an era of interconnectedness from which we learn and emulate processes utilized by tree-roots and micro-rhizomes and other deeply symbiotic complex systems. This, he suggests, needs to be grounded in a new spiritual paradigm. Such a paradigm would entail a relinquishment of the isolated self as the prime locus of meaning and would be grounded in affinity with all that is porous, reciprocal, integrated, and in dynamic flux, like the earth. Our bodies, he points out, are in fact a menagerie of bacteria, viruses, fungi that we incorrectly treat as an unchanging unity.

Equal parts scientist and philosopher, Albrecht loves language and the precise and thoughtful writing here is often also poetic, threaded through with ideas from Plato, Hegel, Rudolf Steiner, Aldo Leopold, Erich Fromm, W. H. Auden and others. As the sub-title of the book suggests he is as committed to transforming our thinking as our praxis.

In the grand tradition of fellow Australian Jeremiahs such as Helen Caldicott on nuclear weapons and Peter Singer on animal rights, Albrecht is a large-picture thinker grounded in experience and empathy. And he is absolutely right. Tragically, his detailed and rational proposals for a fundamental transformation of our material civilization and our psychological world view, seem at this moment as unlikely as world disarmament or the immediate abolition of factory farming.

Overall, there is a bit too much creating of neologisms for my taste because I feel it can put off readers unable to take on the apparatus of new terminology. Still, his inspiring and deeply comprehensive vision is worth studying.

Submitted by ecoartspace member Marina deBellagente LaPalma.

LaPalma was born in Milan, Italy. She was a founder of Kelsey Street Press in Berkeley in the 1970s and a performance artist and art critic in Los Angeles in the 1980s. In the 1990s she was on the Board of The Children’s Book Project in San Francisco, a nonprofit dedicated to literacy-building in young children and served on the Menlo Park Arts Commission for five years. She was also a bookseller at Stanford University Bookstore. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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ecoconsciousness

The ecoartspace online + billboard fall 2020 exhibition titled ecoconsciousness which launched back in September with an interactive catalogue, also includes billboards placed along Interstate 49 in Missouri near the state lines of Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Over 150 artists applied to the juried show, many with the hope to be selected for the billboards. However, of the 80 artists selected by New York art critic Eleanor Heartney, only three works were chosen to be displayed for three months each. On the ground images of the billboards were recently taken, see below, along with the artists statements and information about each billboard location.

You can view the online catalogue here.

We still have a few print catalogues left if you would like to purchase one from our store here.

Excerpt from the econconsciousness catalogue:

The three billboards selected are sited in rural west and southwest Missouri along and near Interstate 49, which runs between Pineville, Missouri (10 miles north of the Arkansas border) up to Interstate 470, the beltway in Kansas City. The cities of Neosho and Monett are located in the Missouri Ozarks and were each included in The 10 Most Conservative Cities in Missouri for 2019. Archie is considered “moderately conservative,” however, the county voted Republican the last five Presidential elections and Republicans held twelve of the thirteen elected positions there as of the 2014 election. Missouri has historically been viewed as a bellwether state, although, they have not voted for a Democratic president since 1996 (Clinton). All three billboards will be up past the elections on November 3, 2020.

Archie, MO

Rebecca Clark
Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?, 2017
graphite and colored pencil on paper
3.5 x 7 inches

Artist Statement: My drawing “Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?” focuses on a pair penetrating pale blue eyes staring out from the half- hidden face of a wolf pup. The title, taken from Bob Dylan’s epic 1962 ballad, “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” implies a familial relationship. Within the context of the drawing, this is a human/ animal relationship and the wolf’s hard gaze is fixed firmly upon the viewer: you, me, us. What devastation did our blue-eyed son witness out there in the world? Will he, will we, survive?

rebeccaclarkart.com

Location: 36°48’01.3”N 94°25’12.8”W
Interstate 49, at milemarker 21.6 southbound near Neosho, MO, Exit 20 
Billboard: North facing, 10.5 x 22.75 feet
Elevation: 1,037 feet above sea level

About Archie: Archie is a city in southern Cass County, which is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. On August 10, 1932 a meteorite fell near Archie that received national attention. A fragment of the meteorite known as “Archie” is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.. The population was 1,207 as of 2018. Archie was platted in 1880, and named after Archie Talmadge, the son of a railroad official. The town hosts an annual tractor pull in September.

This area of Missouri was previously inhabited by speakers of the Dhegihan Siouan-language family: The Osage, Quapaw, Omaha, Ponca and Kansa tribes make up this sub-group. Other historical tribes in the area were Shawnee and Lenape (aka Delaware), whose tribes spoke related Algonquian languages. The Lenape had been pushed to the Midwest from their territory along the mid- Atlantic coast by continuous white encroachment. In 1818 the United States granted land to the Lenape in southern Missouri Territory, but they were forced to cede it back in 1825, after Missouri became a state. At that time, they were removed to a reservation in Kansas. Those who remained in this area were close relatives of the Sauk, Fox and Kickapoo tribes. The early camp meetings held by European-American settlers near Archie often attracted as many as 500 Indigenous peoples, in addition to Europeans. (excerpted from Wikipedia by ecoartspace)

Neosho, MO

Diane Best
Iceberg, Scoresbysund, 2016
digital photograph
26 x 34 inches

Artist Statement: This image was captured on a trip to remote northeast Greenland, on a 1920 Danish sailing ship with a group of 12 other photographers. The fjord system we sailed through is the deepest in the world, with many twists, turns, islands and steep cliffs. Icebergs get trapped in there, which make for captive subject matter – and the water can be as still as glass. This iceberg was out in the deeper water, and was one of the first really big ones we encountered. The photo is notable because I think it was the first time the final image came out exactly how I saw it in my head before I went out shooting! I generally come back with good images, but they are usually not what my original intention was….landscape photographers must be adaptable.

dbestart.com

Location: 36°48’01.3”N 94°25’12.8”W
Interstate 49, at milemarker 21.6 southbound near Neosho, MO, Exit 20
Billboard: North facing, 10.5 x 22.75 feet
Elevation: 1,037 feet above sea level 

About Neosho: Neosho is the childhood home of painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton (1989-1975), as well as African American inventor and botanist George Washington Carver. It’s located in the Southwest corner of the Ozarks in Missouri, also known as Tornado Alley due to the cold air from the Rocky Mountains and Canada which collides with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s population is approximately 12,000 people. Founded in 1839, the name, NE-O-ZHO or NE-U-ZHU, is a Native word of Osage derivation, meaning clear or abundant water, referring to local freshwater springs. The springs attracted varying cultures of Native American inhabitants for thousands of years. White settlers who founded the city in 1833, nicknamed it “City of Springs.” Neosho claims to be the “Gateway to the Ozarks” from the west. (excerpted from Wikipedia by ecoartspace)

Monett, MO

L.C. Armstrong
Peace Rose Over Eclipse, 2020
oil on linen panel
36 x 72 inches

Artist Statement: For the past 20 years, my work has celebrated the natural world. As a child, I spent long summer days, in the Tennessee woods, daydreaming. These early years were influential in building my visual vocabulary. When I was nine, my family drove to California, in two pickup trucks, on Hwy 66. New landscapes now presented themselves; desert sunsets, red rock canyons, the Pacific Ocean. Like the Hudson River School painters, my works seek to highlight the sanctity of nature. In “Peace Rose Over Eclipse,” rose stems magically transform into silver guitar strings. The black disc of the eclipse also can be seen as a guitar sound hole, and rays of light reverberate from it. Music, like art, is a language we can all understand. The “Peace” rose celebrated the end of WWII. It’s sunny, optimistic burst of yellow, blushing to deep coral, signifies new beginnings, and hope for a bright future after the darkness of the eclipse.

lcarmstrong.com

Location: 36°53’40.1”N 93°55’17.6”W
Hwy 37, 1.5 miles south of junction Hwy 60 in Monett, MO
Billboard: North facing, 10.6 x 22.9 feet
Elevation: 1,378 feet above sea level

About Monett: Southwest Missouri is a collection of cities, towns, and communities in the heart of the Ozarks between the metropolitan areas of Joplin and Springfield and the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers in Arkansas. Monett was established in 1887 as a trading post and shipping center for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, later known as the Frisco. Monett had a thriving fruit business and was nicknamed the “Strawberry Capital of the Midwest.” The Ozark Fruit Growers Association building (built in 1927), which is part of the Downtown Monett Historic District, is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1894, a lynching and race riot took place in Monett before the violence spread to other southwestern Missouri towns. Monett became a sundown town, banning African Americans from living or staying there after dark, with a sign across the main street saying: “Nigger, don’t let the sun go down.” Missouri had the second highest number of lynchings outside the Deep South—60 between 1877 and 1950. Monett had apopulation of 9,124 as of 2019 and twenty churches. (excerpted from Wikipedia by ecoartspace)

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ecoartapace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

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But Is It Ecofeminist?

by Mary Jo Aagerstoun, PhD

Two exhibitions of art by women opened simultaneously in June 2020 within the menacing shadow of the COVID 19 pandemic, one in Santa Fe: Performative Ecologies, curated by Patricia Watts, at the new media gallery Currents 826, on June 9, 2020, and the other in New York City: ecofeminism(s), at the Thomas Erben Gallery, curated by Monika Fabijanska, on June 16, 2020. The shows’ appearances—the audiences mainly viewed the exhibitions online—also coincided with the righteous mobilizations and demands of Black Lives Matter spilling across the US in reaction to the murder of George Floyd by police. (1)

Neither ecofeminism(s) nor Performative Ecologies included works by Black women artists. A review of ecofeminism(s) in The Brooklyn Rail vividly underscored this absence. (2) The review’s author, Darla Migan, also asserts that an ecofeminism show foregrounding white women proved the ecofeminist movement and philosophy is “anti-intersectional” and “essentialist.” This point of view is not new and has stuck to the ecofeminist movement since its beginnings.

It was in this context that I received Patricia Watts’s invitation to write this essay on the two exhibitions for the online cultural platform, ecoartspace.(4) As I prepared to write the review I communicated with both Watts and Monika Fabijanska, asking them how they had chosen the artworks for their shows and why they had not included works by Black woman artists.(5) They both responded with reasons for the absence of Black women artists’ work and with statements of resolve that they intended to rectify this absence as they moved forward with their respective curatorial practices. They also offered detailed descriptions of their intentions for the exhibitions and their criteria for selecting the works.

Darla Migan’s critique of Black women artists’ absence from ecofeminism(s) is legitimate and can be equally applied to Performative Ecologies. There certainly are Black women artists who address relationships with the environment in a range of ways and whose works might have fit (easily or uncomfortably) in either show. Among these are the philosophically dense abstractions and performances of Torkwase Dyson, the lyrical, landscape-based photo-narratives of Allison Janae Hamilton, and the community-embeddedness of LaToya Ruby Frazier’s 2016 Flint Project. The inclusion of Black artists’ perspectives in future exhibitions of art by women concerned with environmental damage and crises will be something to look forward to!(6)

While an in-depth exploration of whether ecofeminist analysis is an appropriate lens through which to consider works by Black women artists concerned with environmental issues would be welcome, this essay will not elaborate on the absence of their work in these shows, aside from asserting the legitimacy of the criticism leveled by Migan. This essay will consider whether the works in these exhibitions engage ecofeminism, the relationship they might have with essentialism and whether they can be seen as deploying ritualistic characteristics to oppose and resist.

As I began to think about all this, I wondered if the curators’ intentions could be divined by considering their exhibition titles. Watts’s title, Performative Ecologies, seems gender-neutral, though all the artists in her show were women. She intentionally selected self-performative, ritualistic works where the artists appear alone (and sometimes nude) in landscapes, suggesting a possible essentialist valence that could connect with some of ecofeminism’s early tendencies to make strong, frequently celebratory linkages between biological women and the alleged feminine identity of Nature.

Fabijanska’s title, ecofeminism(s), suggests the curator intended to foreground ecofeminist politics and activism in her show. Yet, in an email to me, Fabijanska states she did not intend the show to be “a piece of theoretical writing,” because she expected her audience to be unfamiliar with either feminist or ecological art.(7) She wanted instead “to emphasize certain similarities and differences, to create the energy of pluses and minuses (think batteries): shapes, textures, sizes, colors, and content” to encourage gallery visitors to think deeply about what they were seeing.

Though Watts does not claim her exhibition engages ecofeminism, she has long pursued an interest in how artists (primarily women, but some men as well) place themselves in landscapes, alone, and in performative ways.(8) Emphasis on imagery of female artists, often nude, embedded ritualistically in landscapes, could suggest a fixed, universal—essentialist—relationship between Woman and Nature. At the same time, the artists’ intentions, or the works’ manifestations themselves, can also be seen as (directly or tangentially) political or activist.

Active opposition to all forms of oppression has been ecofeminists’ focus throughout the evolution of the movement and its discourses. Ecofeminists point to this focus as evidence of ecofeminism’s firmly embedded history of intersectionality. Could activist, resistant, or oppositional intent or manifestation influence whether a ritualistic work is interpreted as ecofeminist, but not essentialist, even when ritualistic and spiritual aspects are dominant? What makes a work spiritual or ritualistic? And how are we to interpret works that suggest activist intent but convey this in ritualistic ways?

Scholar of ritual Ellen Dissanayake identifies particular characteristics of ritual.(9)  She posits that ritual is characterized by “unusual behavior that sets it off from the ordinary or everyday” and that the place where ritual is enacted is “made special” by such behavior. She argues that “[t]ime, space, activity, dress, and paraphernalia are all made special or extraordinary by unusual behavior, and so we can speak of ritual time, ritual space, ritual activity, ritual dress, ritual paraphernalia. . .” Works in both shows display various combinations of these characteristics.

For example, some artists in both exhibitions choose to perform in, or refer to, damaged and even dangerous sites or to perform potentially physically dangerous or risky acts. Such choices draw attention to these sites, clear evidence of political and activist intent. If attention is not drawn to a situation of damage, the damage may never be addressed.

Dominique Mazeaud (French American 1942-), The Great Cleansing of the Rio Grande 1987-1994 ©Estate of Dominique Mazeaud. Courtesy of the artist

One work of this type, in Performative Ecologies, is Dominique Mazeaud’s seven-year-long The Great Cleansing of the Rio Grande (1987-1994). Repetition and endurance are characteristics of ritual, and are foregrounded in Great Cleansing. Mazeaud’s cleanups occurred in regular monthly sequences, stretching out over years, during which her community became increasingly involved in the project. Community members joined Mazeaud regularly in urging elected officials to improve enforcement of anti-littering regulations.

Mazeaud’s Great Cleansing also spawned activist involvement after the project ended. In one of these later activist interventions, in 2001, as an act of opposition to the war in Iraq, she sent a box containing “gifts from the river,” children’s shoes and other “talismanic” articles collected during an earlier Great Cleansing, to one of New Mexico’s US Senators. The items referred to the deaths of thousands of children during US bombings.(10) The act of placing objects together in ways that suggest the arrangement itself has power is consonant with Dissanayake’s observations that objects become ritualized when utilized for a particular purpose that is not the objects’ original one.

Fern Shaffer (American, 1944-), Nine Year Ritual (1995-2003), The Swamp, 9th Ritual, September 9, 2003, Cashe River Basin, Illinois © Fern Shaffer. Courtesy of the artist

Another multiyear work in Performative Ecologies, Nine Year Ritual (1995-2003), by performance artist Fern Shaffer, a self-identifying feminist healer, took place on a succession of seriously damaged sites. The artist wore a costume suggestive of an African shaman, and the piece demonstrates several aspects of ritual as described by Dissanayake. Among the more recent works in Performative Ecologies is Mary Mattingly’s Pull (2013), in which the artist, who self-identifies as an ecofeminist, first documented all her possessions, researching every detail about each item’s provenance and manufacture, then gathered and bound the items into several large “boulders” and ritually pulled them, alone, through New York City’s streets. In this way, Mattingly activates ritual processes of temporality and endurance to bring to sharp visibility the weight of human overconsumption and its exponentially expanding impacts on all habitats—clearly an activist intent.

Mary Mattingly (American, 1979-), Pull, 2013 © Mary Mattingly. Courtesy of the artist

continues here

(Top photo: Helène Aylon (American, 1931-2020), The Earth Ambulance, 1982 ©Estate of Helène Aylon)

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ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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ecoconsciousness fall 2020 online + billboard show

What does it mean to have an ecoconsciousness? The works here offer multiple answers to that question. ecoconsciousness measures our interconnectivity with the natural world. It celebrates our links to the animals with whom we share the planet, to the trees, fruits, vegetables, herbs and insects that make life possible, to the land and waters that bear witness to our best and worst impulses and to the ecological systems that sustain us all. It encompasses our awareness both of the beauty of nature and the devastating horrors created by our efforts to exploit it. It manifests itself in artworks that bring the perilous consequences of our actions to our attention through striking images, immersive installations, evocative performances and rituals and practical proposals. It engages with fields as diverse as science, technology, poetry, politics, history, anthropology, art history and futurism. And it poses questions about our place in the cosmos with wit, sorrow, anger and hope.  

Eleanor Heartney, Juror

fall 2020

Selected artists include: (80)

Anita Arliss, Audrey An, Ulrike Arnold, Frejya Bardell, Resa Blatman, Casey Brown, Barbara Boissevain, Kellie Bornhoft, Hilary Brace, Sukey Bryan, Claudia Bucher, Diane Burko, Pamela Casper, Elisabeth Condon, Gigi Conot, Madelaine Corbin, Xavier Cortada, Shirley Crow, Matthew Crowther, Cameron Davis, Nicole Dextras, Jeanne Dunn, Jesse Etelson, Sarah Fairchild, Doug Fogelson, Fredericka Foster, Andrea Frank, Maru Garcia, Stephanie Garon, Helen Glazer, Jon Goldman, Alexander Heilner, Lyn Horton, Virginia Katz, Robin Lasser, Carrie Lederer, Margaret LeJeune, Ellen Levy, J.J. L’Heureux, Sujin Lim, Pam Longobardi, Linda MacDonald, Nancy Macko, Ana MacArthur, Liz McGowan, Constance Mallinson, Nancy Winship Milliken, Seren Morey, Zea Morvitz, Scott Norris, Diana Cheren Nygren, Lil Olive, Caitlin Parker, Deanna Pindell, Aviva Rahmani, Andrea Reynosa, Jennifer Rife, Shana Robbins, John Sabraw, Cherie Sampson, Diana Scarborough, Gregg Schlanger, Leslie Sobel, Anne-Katrin Spiess, Dawn Stetzel, Amber Stucke, Gina Telcocci, Jane Troup, Barry Underwood, Ruth Wallen, Charlotte Watts, Riva Weinstein, Brad Wilson, Adam Wolpert, Chin Chin Yang, Amy Youngs, Raheleh Zomorodinia.

Billboard artists: Diane Best, Rebecca Clark, and L.C. Armstrong

ecoartspace, LLC

Mailing address: PO Box 5211 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

White Oak Leaf Sculpture Tour 10.25.20


Date And Time

Sun, October 25, 2020
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT
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Location

Mountain Lakes House
57 Mountain Ave 
Princeton, NJ 08540 
United States 
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Walk + Talk with ecological artist Susan Hoenig Walk to see the White Oak + American Chestnut Leaf Sculptures in the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. Friends of Princeton Open Space and Susan Hoenig collaborated on this project to draw attention to the value and beauty of native trees, which not only please our eyes and soothe our spirits, but are critical to sustaining wildlife.

Meet the tour by the lake, below the Mountain Lakes House. Once everyone has arrived, we will walk to the White Oak sculpture from there. Please wear comfortable walking shoes you don’t mind getting dirty and please wear a mask.  For information about Friends of Princeton Open Space, please visit fopos.org.

MORE INFO

Ink Foraging with Jane Marsching at the Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA

The Bounties of Nature Bring the Artist Visions of a Colorful Future

Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

Just an hour’s drive outside of the city of Boston/Cambridge, one finds oneself amongst rolling hills of green, colonial houses and quaint farmland. This is where the Fruitland’s Museum is situated; a museum of American art emphasizing the symbiosis of nature and artistic practice on the lands of a former utopian community developed by two writers in the mid-1800s. The flowing earth meets a cluster of historic buildings surrounded by trails of forest interwoven with artworks.

Jane Marsching in her apron at the beginning of the walk

Then, meet Jane Marsching, dressed in a handmade futuristic apron of dark blue, neon green and silver with glittering trim. She stands as a proclamation toward self-sufficient, net-zero artistry in defiance of inhumane and ecologically unsound supply chains. Jane quotes the “New Eden” community of Alcott & Lane who originally founded Fruitland’s. By provoking the group of 10 gatherers who surround her toward the urgent need for future thinking during this Age of the Anthropocene, she hopes they will overcome a paralysis of growth toward a more positive and constructive future.

Ink foraging backpack with original typographical woodblocks and Solar oven cooking bark ink

Exhibited in the main hall is her backpack with invented Helvetica-based typography printing blocks, gathering vestibules and ladder. The backpack was originally meant as a communal activity to carry through the woods, no one person carrying the weight alone. She “takes folx into the forest to dream and print radical imaginings of what is possible” while leading the group on various meditative and ink-making activities. Outside of the farmhouse of Fruitland’s, she has made a solar oven to create her inks with gathered rainwater, foraged materials from the lands and an enamel pot as an open-air ink making lab.


Printed banner hangs in yellow trail and Marsching’s results of site-specific ink samples

Her inks, foraged with care, are created using materials from the landscape. They include wild grapes, sumac, barks and pokeberries. Jane reminds the group of the importance of gathering only what has fallen, the plants which are weeds, and no more than 10% of the available plant matter at one time to ensure regrowth and abundance. The large banners, which hang in various areas around the museum’s grounds read quotes from contemplative texts such as, “We are dreaming of a time when the land might give thanks to the people” and speak towards a sustainable vision of the often bleakly presented future.

Jane Marsching explains the rules of sustainable foraging

Jane insists on an ephemeral practice. By using natural inks that are light sensitive and wear in the weather they are exposed to, she emphasizes work that grows out of the relationship with time, place and humans. Her goal is to influence this particular moment rather than a moment 50 years from now.

Forest meditation under Jane Marsching hand-printed banner

Yet, as we gather together on the forest floor, amongst strangers in person for the first time in over half a year, and meditate to the sounds of chirping, birdsongs, wind passing through leaves and machine gun practice ranges, there is a resounding influence taking place. Jane guides us to listen with intention and think about a hopeful future. It is a call to creative arms, to dream larger than the boundaries that inhibit this vision; to ideate in order to activate.

Close up of yellow trail forest

The work is not ephemeral at all. Instead, the effects of existing together and reimagining the future transforms a time of challenge and turns it into an intellectual pursuit. Each moment counts to create that different future 50 years come, the trees themselves, will stand as witnesses to the choices that are made next. 

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ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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ecoartspace member exhibitions

5 Facets of Humanity: Intra-human, Meta-human, Post-human, Supra-human, Trans-human, a group exhibition including Gary Brewer and Virginia Katz. Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA), Los Angeles, CA. October 3 – December 12, 2020. Virtual reception October 3, 2020 at 5pm.  

Emotional Numbness: The impact of war on the human psyche and ecosystems. Includes Minoosh ZomorodiniaCarol NewborgAlicia Escott, and Judith Selby Lang. WEAD, Women Eco Artists Dialogue. Online through October 19, 2020.

Victoria Wagner: Everglow, recent paintings and sculpture. Maybaum Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Through October 14, 2020.

Stephanie Garon: Recede The Plain. Installation at Alchemy of Art, Baltimore, MD. Through November 1, 2020.

Hunt for the Lost. A participatory public art project launched August 11 by Aviva Rahmani. Through November 3, 2020.

Listening in the Anthropocene, group exhibition of twenty-five artists including a recent video meditation titled A forecast of storm (Derbarl Yerrigan) by Perdita Phillips. Curated by the Creative Practice Circle, Australia. Online.

Seedscapes: Future-Proofing Nature. A group exhibition including Sant Khalsa. Impressions Gallery, Bradford, United Kingdom. Through December 12, 2020. 

Rising Tides: Contemporary Art and The Ecology of Water, including Emily Brown,Diane BurkoStacy Levy. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA. Through January 10, 2021.

She is Here, Studio Artist Program, Retrospective Group Show includes a video installation titled Onar (repair the dream) by Pam Longobardi. Atlanta Contemporary, GA.Through January 31, 2021.

Broken Poems of Butterflies, solo exhibition by Etsuko Ichikawa using radioactive materials to shape artworks and video footage of haunting beauty. Jordan Schntizer Museum of Art, Pullman, WA. Through March 20, 2021.

Do you have an exhibition coming up? Please email the information to info@ecoartspace.org to be included in upcoming newsletters.

Above: Gary Brewer5 Facets of Humanity, installation at FOCA, Los Angeles. 

TREE TALK: Artists Speak For Trees

Tree Talk: Artists Speak For Trees

Thursday, October 29
10am PT, 11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET

EUROPE: Scotland/Ireland/England:18:00 GMT, Belgium/Germany/Spain: 19:00 UTC

Casey Lance Brown, Bia Gayotto, Jennifer Gunlock, Tracy Taylor Grubbs, Marion Wilson

The beauty and mystery of trees has long been a subject for artists, and more recently, concern for the survival of forests (the lungs of our planet) has been paramount. Each month, artists working in a diversity of media share their artworks and ideas about these most essential and extraordinary living beings. Additionally, guest speakers including scientists, writers and activists are invited to present their work and contribute to the dialogue.

Tree Talk is moderated by Sant Khalsa, ecofeminist artist and activist, whose work has focused on critical environmental and societal issues including forests and watersheds for four decades.
 
Co-sponsored by Joshua Tree Center for Photographic Arts

Members and one guest are free. General Public can attend for a $10. Capacity is 100 participants. All participants MUST REGISTER.

Member Presenters:

Casey Lance Brown will trace the tangled paths that led to kudzu’s outsized reputation as the posterchild of invasive plants, touching on the xenophobic, regionalist, and moralizing tropes that (mis)guided the way. Exaggerated statistics lead to exaggerated labeling, which leads to his own exaggerated series on the subject. Brown is an American multidisciplinary artist who studied at Duke University, Harvard Design School, and as a fellow of the American Academy in Rome. His work often reveals the perverse ways in which human systems use, abuse, and adapt to the planet’s surface. Originally trained as a landscape architect, he fabricates super-resolution images to dramatize the novel environments of the Anthropocene. Each image series focuses on a landscape type that was/is/will be abandoned when our collective fickle attention and economic speculation move on to greener pastures. caseylancebrown.com

 

Bia Gayotto is a multimedia artist and curator whose interdisciplinary approach combines photography, video, installations and books, with elements of research, documentation, performance and collaboration. Memoirs is a photographic series of tree stumps. In post-production Gayotto uses a process that filters light, and like an X-ray reveals details not seen by the naked eye. The marks that emerge from this process are similar to DNA, a history of the inner life of trees. The series raises questions about life and decay, deforestation and global warming, in hopes to protect tens of thousands of trees that might vanish in our lifetimes. Gayotto earned her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996 and her work has been featured in exhibitions Internationally. biagayotto.com

Jennifer Gunlock will present her perception of how trees and plants are regarded and handled in contemporary Western culture. Our economy’s obsession with ownership and dominance, as opposed to working in partnership with plants, is expressed here. In her work she often creates fictional, possible future landscapes long after a civilization has vanished, where nature has over the length of time adapted to, and thrived in, this new habitat. Gunlock, who is based in Long Beach, California, embeds photographs from her travels into her collage-drawings. She received her MFA at California State University, Long Beach and has exhibited at Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, and Angels Gate Cultural Center. She has been Artist in Residence at Cill Rialaig in Ireland and PLAYA in Oregon, among others. jennifergunlock.com

Tracy Taylor Grubbs, a painter and multi-disciplinary artist, will discuss her Listening Project Series that focuses on mark making in collaboration with natural forces including trees and forests near the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Her work is positioned at the intersection of nature, culture and spirituality. Grubbs employs repetition and chance operations in her time-based work opening new dialogues with nature, and reframing her understanding of time and place. For several years she worked on environmental restoration and conservation projects in California. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad. Grubbs studied art and art history at the San Francisco Art Institute, U.C. Berkeley and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Political Philosophy from St. Lawrence University. She lives and works in San Francisco, California. tracygrubbs.com

Marion Wilson investigates ecology and landscape to foster a closer connection to self and place in her work. Through photographs, paintings and installations she interrogates relations to nature at a time when extreme climate change threatens ecosystems, livelihoods, and communities. Wilson builds collaborative partnerships with botanists, architects, and urban communities by accessing individual expertise and working non-hierarchically. Her studio practice explores industrialized landscapes, useful and stress tolerant botanies, with a special interest in moss. Wilson was an Associate Professor at Syracuse University from 2007-17, where she institutionalized an art curriculum called New Directions in Social Sculpture employing recycled materials and unlikely collaborations to revitalize urban spaces. Wilson is the founder of MLAB and the Mobile Field Station, an eco/art lab in a renovated RV, and 601 Tully, the renovation of an abandoned residence turned drug house into a neighborhood art museum on the westside of Syracuse, NY. marionwilson.com

Gif Image above: ©Casey Lance Brown, Hunting for Kudzilla I, 2019, digitial composit on dye-infused metallic print, 50 x 40 inches; ©Jennifer Gunlock, Backcountry II, 2020, mixed media paper collage and drawing on panel, 36 x 36 inches;©Tracy Taylor Grubbs, Tree Listening, Point Reyes, CA, 2017-2019, gathering marks on canvas, (installation view); ©Bia Gayotto, Memoirs (written by trees), 2020, archival inkjet print on 100% cotton rag, 20 x 20 inches; ©Marion Wilson, The Landscape is Sanctuary to Our Fears, 2020 (installation at William Paterson University, Court Gallery).