H20 – Preview: Omar Lopez

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

On May 6, 2011, H20: The Art of Conservation, at the Water Conservation Garden, San Diego, CA, will open to the public. Green Public Art reviewed over 1100 artists portfolios before inviting 14 San Diego artists to participate in the exhibition which offers San Diego homeowners an artistic alternative to incorporate water conservation into their own garden spaces. Green Public Art awarded each artist a mini-grant to develop their site-specific sculptures. In the weeks leading up to the exhibition opening the artist’s concepts will be revealed on this site. Questions? Contact Rebecca Ansert, Curator, Green Public Art at

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CONCEPT:  Deterioration = blooming of seeds within = potential for failure, accidents and a story. This sculpture, approximately a 4’x4’x4’ cube, will be made from a hardened mixture of clay, straw, fertilized soil, and various species of plant seed. As a vessel it consists of guilds, biomes, and designed communities of complimentary plant species. The sculpture will serve as a sort of time capsule, carrying seeds of various ecosystems into the near future. The work is reminiscent of a living tomb in the Egyptian sense, as a vault or holding vessel which carries preserved life to the blooming of another life. The piece can be left intact or split up to speed process and facilitate distribution. Pieces or chunks can be given away to friends/family, or taken and planted as far away as the owner wishes to take it. As a solid piece, it imbues a state of potential and can remain in a form of stasis. The process of the sculpture’s decay gives way to further emergence of life.

ABOUT: Omar Lopez is a writer, artist and environmental enthusiast. Lopez studied art, history, philosophy and English at Southwestern College and San Diego City College. He strives to be descriptive, not prescriptive and to illuminate things accurately. He is most interested in dynamics, theatrics, emotive structures and the noble vulnerability in things. He is passionate about furthering the ambition of wonder and is often informed by his experience in construction, design, travel, mountaineering and his passion for direct engagement with strangers.

SEE another Lopez installation, In the Belly of the Whale in the Bell Jar, currently on view at Art Produce until April 3, 2011. Check gallery’s website for times and additional special events.

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.

Go to Green Public Art

ashdenizen: flowers on stage: the poppy

In the first of the summer series of blogs about flowers on stage,Frances Babbage writes about poppies.

The flowers were scarlet poppies and they burst through the wall. In 1997, the Lecoq-trained theatre company Bouge-de-là presented Under Glass.

Its young woman protagonist lives a closed existence in a cramped bedsit, selecting each day the same clothes, in the same order; her ritualized sequence of actions structures each day predictably, protecting any her from all outside influence. Yet on one wall of her attic room is a poster of an Alpine field, studded with flowers.

An unvoiced and largely repressed fantasy of Switzerland and what this appears to represent is stirred into life when a young Swiss man, a neighbour, meets and fleetingly befriends her before leaving again, to return to his native country or travel elsewhere.

The audience recognises, as he does not, the consequences of his actions for this vulnerable woman: better perhaps that he had never come at all.

In the performance’s final moments, she is left alone, again, in the small, drab room – even more alone, because abandoned. She leans against the wall, unspeaking: the damage done seems irreparable.

Then utterly without warning, flowers push their way through the wall. The dirty, fading wallpaper becomes an Alpine meadow, and pressed against it she appear to us to lie amongst poppies: maybe sleeping; maybe dying. She will never leave her little room; she will not travel to the places she dreams about. But in this moment she is transported there, and at the same time the pure fresh air and open fields burst in here. Living flowers, poppies, pushing in through peeling paper, connect two worlds: poetically, the image layers fresh against stale; movement against stasis; death against life.

This woman will not trust someone else another time. She will retreat still further. Perhaps she will die. But as she breathes in the scent of flowers, we can believe that something has changed for her in a way worth the anguish that comes with it.

Dr Frances Babbage is convenor of the MA in Theatre & Performance at Sheffield University. Her first book was Augusto Boal (Routledge, 2004).

photo: Aurelian Koch