EcoArtSpace

DEADLINE MAY 31 for ecoconsciousness CALL FOR ARTISTS

eco consciousness is the thematic of the inaugural ecoartspace online juried show for our artist and art professional membership levels. The show will be blind juried by Eleanor Heartney, distinguished New York art critic and author.

Approximately 100 works will be selected for exhibition. Three billboard awards will be given to artists whose work will be presented in the Midwest for three months leading up to the General Election on November 3. The exhibition will be presented as a digital catalogue (PDF), designed to accompany the online show, with an introduction by ecoartspace curators Patricia Watts and Amy Lipton.

eco consciousness, which is defined as showing concern for the environment, is a broad thematic to offer inclusivity. We, however, are encouraging work that is sensitive to the spiritual and the feminist aspects of our human relationship with nature.

Artworks selected will be featured online beginning September 1 and will be promoted in our monthly e-Newsletter and our social media channels.

Entry fee is $35

APPLY HERE NOW

READ BARBARA ROSE INTERVIEW WITH HEARTNEY l BROOKLYN RAIL

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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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Intergenerational Environmental Responsibility: Reflections during The Great Pause

An Interview with Sarah Kanouse
By Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein 

My practice is totally affected by being quarantined. I’m working on the dining room table on a failing laptop that I couldn’t get fixed before all of the computer repair places shut down as nonessential businesses. sk

Sarah Kanouse was preparing to tour her original work My Electric Genealogy throughout Southern California when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. She helplessly watched as five years of work and preparation was put on hold. The work explores the social justice impacts of her family inheritance and intergenerational environmental responsibility.

OH: I understand you’ve had to make some difficult decisions as a result of the pandemic, including leaving your residency locality in Munchen.
 
SK: Yes, I had to leave Germany abruptly last week for fear of getting stuck there for another six months, well beyond my housing contract and income. I’ve been under house quarantine in Boston for 8 days, so it’s mostly been my community here supporting me. I’ve figured out how to make some masks and plan to help deliver meals when I get out of quarantine next week.

OH: What response have you had to the ecological changes resulting from the global quarantines and how has this affected your practice?

SK: We’re getting a crash course in degrowth–the radical contraction of our economies that is needed to mitigate climate change, but that would have to be carefully planned not to make far, far worse the violent inequities of contemporary capitalism. I hope that the mutual aid networks we’ve seen spring up in neighborhoods everywhere and the ways that once-radical ideas like UBI and free health care suddenly seem eminently sensible is a preview of a beautiful eco-social future. But, unfortunately, the right-wing governments are using the shock of the pandemic to further gut environmental regulations, trample privacy, and curtail dissent. Keystone XL just a fresh infusion of money and is full speed ahead, and it barely registered in the news.

OH: You describe that the show “My Electric Genealogy” traces your relationship to the environmental and social justice impacts of (your) family inheritance.

SK: Well, my grandfather worked for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power from the 1930s to the 1970s—a 40-year period in which the city’s population more than doubled and the Great Acceleration of energy consumption really took off. His entire career was devoted to ensuring that the city had enough power to support rapid population growth that was concentrated in hot, arid places that required ever-increasing amounts of energy to make comfortable according to white, middle class standards.”

OH: What are some of these environmental and social justice impacts?

SK: Several power plants were built in this era in the Four Corners area hundreds of miles away either on or encircling the Navajo and Hopi reservations. Indigenous people and the animals and plants they mutually depend on experienced all the adverse health and environmental impacts of these plants and their associated coal mines but did not benefit from any of the electricity.

OH: Can you please share a specific story from the show?

SK: In the performance, I contrast this story with my grandfather’s plan to build a nuclear power plant in Malibu. This privileged beachfront community was able to successfully mobilize to defeat the DWP’s planned Corral Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, which my grandfather envisioned as the first in string of 30 nuclear power plants along the California coast. In addition to the environmental injustices involved in electrical generation in the twentieth century, the transmission infrastructure both reflects and contributes to economic and racial segregation in the built environment in the present.

OH: In the description of the solo show “Electric Genealogy” you question what role you and your identity play in the destructive infrastructures that are involved in colonization and industrialization. Tell me more.

SK: I’m strongly influenced by the environmental philosopher Kyle Powys Wyte (Potawatomi) who has called on white environmentalists to take responsibility for the ways that their (which is to say my) environmental consciousness has been shaped by white, settler colonial values and how “we” benefited intergenerationally from the very planet-imperiling practices that we now decry.

OH: For those of us who may not get the chance to see your show, have you come to any personal conclusions on the topic?

SK: The project is very personal. My grandfather was a complicated and difficult man—scornful of the burgeoning environmental movement; critical of the educated wife who gave up her own career to support his; politically conservative and deeply religious; harsh and even violent with his children. But he is also part of me. As an artist, I identify with his ambition and almost megalomaniacal focus on his life’s work. He loved photography and took hundreds of images of electrical transmission and generation systems. But what do we do about ancestors whose actions were the ones being rightfully resisted? I think of the project as a reparative project—critical of my grandfather’s legacy, of course, but also one that tries to build something out of the fragments, ruins, and traces that he and his generation left.

OH: Is the mid-century men’s suit that you wear during the performance meant to emphasize this?

SK: Wearing a suit that could have been my grandfather’s and adding and subtracting different costume elements over the course of the performance is one of the ways that I work through my connection to him and his time. It’s also a way of playing with and multiplying the possibilities for gender expression to resist the normative hetero-patriarchy which much of US infrastructure assumed: private, domestic, feminized spaces of consumption and rugged, masculine, high-tech spaces of production.

I hope that the performance prompts the audience to consider their own co-subjectivity with modern infrastructures, since we are at a moment in which they must fundamentally be reworked and rethought. sk

OH: You embody multiple generations in the show in order to ask what intergenerational environmental responsibility might look like. How might it look in your perspective?

SK: Because the environmentally unjust present was not merely what Whyte calls the environmental fantasies of my ancestors but also my grandfather’s actual life’s work that is actively imperiling the future that my child will inhabit. The performance is in some ways a counterfactual dialogue with the political and cultural legacies of my grandfather’s life’s work—one that’s needed if we are to work through the legacies of modernism, technocracy, and growth-at-all-costs that continue to animate green capitalist approaches to climate adaptation. 

OH: Much of your early work was in film. When did you decide to work in live performance? How has the medium informed the process?

SK: I started this project thinking I was making a film. Like I often do, I wrote a lot, shot a lot of material, and did some talks, which steadily became more and more performative. At one point, the script was 80 pages (a lot to memorize!), and I had done absolutely no acting since junior high. So, it slowed the creative process down immeasurably, but also in really exciting and fun ways. I audited a university acting class, joined a contact improv circle, consulted with performance artists as I reworked and finished the script, and worked with a choreographer friend to think about how my movements can convey the idea of being embodied by and related to something as big  and diffuse as the electrical grid. It took me awhile, but the project couldn’t go back to being a film—it’s just too much of hybrid creature—movement, sound, storytelling, projected moving images, sculptural set design, videoclips—to flatten on a screen.

OH: What are your next steps?

SK: Good question – and I wish I had an answer! I was just starting to set up dates for fall on the east coast, where I’m based, when the pandemic began heating up. Those were all in the early stages and are just impacted by the pandemic as the postponed spring shows, since the canceled/postponed events of the spring should be rescheduled if at all possible. It also feels incredibly icky to be worrying about the impact on this project when people are sick and dying or losing their jobs.

So, I’m taking this moment to take stock not just about this project but how I live—the ways that my creative ambitions unwittingly replicate some of my grandfather’s worldview, for example—and knowing that there cannot be business as usual after this. 

Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein is a Cambridge, MA based artist/writer and ecoartspace member.

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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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Finding the Positive at Double Negative

In the last couple of weeks, our world has turned on a dime. In what seemed like an instant, we were pulled from our day-to-day active lives into isolation. Our city has shut down, as has much of the country. All non-essential businesses have closed, and groups of people are restricted. 

In a quest to see something more than the inside of my house, I took a drive to see Michael Heizer’s iconic land art piece – Double Negative. Located about two hours from my home in Las Vegas, Nevada – I drove north to Overton, Nevada. From there, once I hit the dirt road, I was essentially alone with just an occasional vehicle visible in the distance.

Parking on the rim of Mormon Mesa, I was struck by the vastness of the view shed. There were a full 100 square miles in view, from snow-capped mountains in the distance, the flat desert plain of the mesa and the meandering Virgin River in the valley below. Double Negative blends into the view as if it had always been there and can be easily missed if you don’t know what you are looking for.

Heizer’s Double Negative is considered a “negative” sculpture. In 1969, using heavy equipment with the help of some dynamite, he removed almost a quarter of a million tons of rock on the Mesa edge. In his sculpture, he created two cuts, both 50 feet deep and 30 feet wide and several hundred feet long. Over the years, it has weathered and eroded, but the basic shape is still clearly visible and will be for years to come. Initially, Heizer did not want the piece restored in any way, instead, wanting the desert to reclaim the land over time. More recently, potential restoration is being discussed with support from the artist.

In the late 1960s, art dealer Virginia Dwan provided funding for the project and donated the land and the piece to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. The site is open for viewing 365 days of the year, and directions are accessible from Google Maps and a variety of online sources. 

Michael Heizer felt that the most accurate view of Double Negative was in person, being physically present at the site. As I look over the edge of Double Negative, I am struck by how relatively unchanged this sculpture is after a half-century. In this uncertain time where our lives have changed significantly, what lesson does this land art piece share about the mysteries of time and our role in it?

Paula Jacoby-Garrett is a freelance writer in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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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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Creating a Living Water Map: Stacy Levy’s Collected Watershed Employs 8,500 Glass Jars to Tell the Story of Towson, Maryland’s Watershed

We hear a lot about watersheds, but how many of us really know where we live within the dendritic system of our own local waterways? We may glance at highway signs telling us we’ve entered this or that watershed, but can we name the creeks, streams, and rivers that flow around us, and do we know how they connect to each other?

Environmental artist Stacy Levy sets out to give one community a visceral, lyrical, and ecologically accurate sense of exactly where they live, water-wise, with her new project, Collected Watershed. The project, on view now through April 25th at the Towson University Center for the Arts Gallery in suburban Baltimore, employs more than 1,000 gallons of locally collected stream water to bring an entire network of Chesapeake waterways into view.

In order to get all that water back to the gallery, Levy and her collaborators—including biology students and faculty, music students, and art students—ventured out into the Towson area landscape for a full week of water collecting. Using 5-gallon buckets, participants gathered samples from over forty waterways. “It’s a very involved process,” Levy notes. “Locating the tributaries can be difficult—we’re often working with waterways that have been sent underground, or that run behind strip malls and invisibly through our neighborhoods. We all become water detectives searching out these hard-to-see waterways.”

Levy and an assistant lay out the watershed map on the gallery floor using blue tape and flexible plastic chain.

Once back at the gallery, those ungainly 5-gallon buckets filled with gathered water became, in Levy’s words, “very important water, like fine wine that you label.” And while that precious water waited, the next step of “Collected Watershed” took shape: participants carefully placed jars along blue masking tape on the gallery floor, mapping the shape of the many waterways surrounding Towson, from Gunpowder Falls in the north to Jones Falls in the south. Then, over the course of many days, participants filled those jars with water from the corresponding streams and tributaries. Now viewers can literally walk through a giant living map of their watershed, comprised of 8,500 recycled glass jars branching across the floor of the gallery.

A project participant carefully fills one of 8,500 recycled glass jars with gathered water.

For many participants, this process of gathering water and watershed mapping was an eye-opening look at the state of their watershed, as well as the hydrological issues that intersect with issues of social justice. Erin Lehman, lecturer and director of the Holtzman MFA and Center for the Arts Galleries at Towson, points to issues like water justice, paying water bills, storm runoff, and crumbling infrastructure causing pollution in local creeks and tributaries. “This project felt really germane to our gallery and the Baltimore area in general,” said Lehman, “because water is so important here, and so much of it is underground.”

Visitors to Collected Watershed can literally walk through a giant water map of the Towson area

For Levy, the project’s ultimate goal is simple: To bring to the forefront waterways that are often hidden and forgotten. “Our waterways are like capillaries across the land, carrying water from sky to sea,” she says. “The same branching pattern as our blood vessels, the watershed carries the life blood of our planet. Nowadays we know our roads far better than our waterways. By not knowing where the water flows, we fail to protect it.”

Collected Watershed at the Center for the Arts Gallery, January 31 – April 25, 2020. For more information go HERE

Abby Minor is a poet and essayist living in the ridges and valleys of central Pennsylvania.

(Top image: Collected Watershed collaborators gather samples from one of forty different waterways)

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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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On Inundation: Art and Climate Change in the Pacific

For Pacific Islanders, sea level rise is an existential threat. Island communities in the Asia Pacific are seeing their traditional ways of life threatened and many are experiencing coastal erosion, diminishing fresh water tables and dramatically stronger storms. For example, the Marshall Islands, which lie only six feet above sea level, experiences tidal flooding once every month. According to Marshall Island Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, the island of his childhood is “not only getting narrower – it is getting shorter…There are coffins and dead people being washed from graves – it’s that serious.”

Inundation: Art and Climate Change in the Pacific currently on view at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, includes nine Pacific artists who address the impacts of rising of sea levels resulting from climate change, and the flood of emotions that the inundation unleashes. Curated by Jaimey Hamilton Faris, Associate Professor of Art History and Critical Theory at the University, the exhibition features works that convey the aesthetics of water and the vulnerability of Asia Pacific Island communities in Hawai’i, the Kingdom of Tonga, the Philippines, Okinawa, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Singapore both visually and through the spoken word. Artists included in the exhibition are: Hawai’i-based fiber and installation/performance artist, Mary Babcock; Kanaka Maoli sculptor and installation artist, Kaili Chun; Philippine artists and siblings, Martha and Jake Atienza, who work under the platform DAKOgamay; socially engaged Singapore artist, James Jack; Marshallese poet and performance artist, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner; artist and scholar of Native Hawaiian, African-American, Japanese, Caddo Indian and Punjabi descent, Joy Lehuanani Enomoto; Singapore performance artist, photographer and videographer, Charles Lim Yi Yong; and New Zealand-born artist of Samoan and Australian heritage, Angela Tiatia.

In a recent conversation with Faris, she explained that her goal was to create an exhibition on the climate crisis that did not follow the usual formula for addressing well-known scientific and technological factors but was primarily seen through the lenses of climate justice and culture. She also wanted to “bring regional artists from large coastal island cities together with artists from small islands so that they could dialogue with each other about the shared challenges they face as a result of the climate crisis and potential alternative solutions for their homelands.”

All of the artists in Inundation promote the inclusion of Indigenous voices and environmental knowledge in the discussion of the current climate crisis in the Pacific islands. Rejecting traditional governmental solutions to flooding based on colonial history, including coastal defense systems and land reclamation projects, they imagine alternate ways of remediating the environment.

In her work, entitled Hū mai, Ala Mai, for example, Kaili Chun has created maps displaying the past and projected future shorelines along Waikiki, the Honolulu airport and the Marine Corps Base Hawai’i in O’ahu. Indicating where inundation will most likely occur and how it’s connected to the history of land appropriation and reclamation during colonization and development, the maps are overlaid with native varieties of fish that once swam in the estuary streams. Hū mai, Ala Mai imagines how a reconnected watershed can be restored into an abundant tidal ecosystem by letting the rising waters back into the places they had previously been. Her work also emphasizes the native Hawaiian values of “abundance, care and respect for the moving waters.”

Left: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and Joy Lehuanani Enomoto, Sounding, installation with baskets, sounding line, drawing and sound recording, 2020 ; Mary Babcock, Lotic Sea, (Center), stitched wax paper and sea salt, 2020; and Right: Kaili Chun, Hū mai, Ala mai, Ink-jet digital collage on archival paper, 24”X 96”, 2020 Installation View. Photo Credit: Chris Rohrer

In a complex installation entitled Sounding, by Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner and Joy Lehuanani Enomoto, the artists employ the patterning, intersections and strands of weaving, with the sounds of water to suggest how all Pacific island voices, including women and Indigenous ones and all strands of knowledge, including ancestral, should be part of the planned solutions to the climate crisis.

A poem by Jetn̄il-Kijiner in the exhibition catalogue reminds us of what happens when “strands” are left out of the conversation:

Look – I missed a strand.
I missed a strand, and now could we be unraveling?
Has the day come when we can talk? Maybe the day has come when we must talk. Because something is eating islands. There are islands dying. There are voices telling us to destroy thousand year old limbs like it’s nothing.
Like it’s not another strand unraveling. Like it’s not another woman sinking to the bottom. Sinking boulders tied to feet, body caged in a woven tomb.
We missed a strand and we named her monster.

Accompanying the exhibition is a comprehensive catalogue and a full range of community events, including HIGHWATERLINE: HONOLULU, which invites community participants to visualize how rising tides will impact Honolulu by walking through the Kaka’ako area. Organized by Christina Gerhardt, Associate Professor at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, this activity is a recreation of artist Eve Mosher’s original 2007 HighWaterLine community art project that marked over 70 miles in the New York City boroughs at risk for major flooding from rising tides. The Guide to Creative Community Engagement was written by Eve Mosher and Heidi Quante, and provides a roadmap on how to realize a HighWaterLine locally.

Inundation: Art and Climate Change in the Pacific is on view through February 28, 2020 at the University of Hawaii Manoa. The exhibition will travel to the Donkey Hill Art Center in Holualoa, on view March 28 – June 26, 2020.  

(Top image: Front: Charles Lim, SEA STATE 9: proclamation, 4K video, 2017, SEA STATE 9: proclamation: the sandpapers, bookshelf and books, 2017 and SEA STATE 9: proclamation: sand graph, photographs, 2017; and Back: James Jack, SEA BIRTH THREE, 4 K digital video, 2020, SPIRITS OF ŌURA, handmade walnut ink on paper, 53 “ X 174.4 “  2020, and HOME FOR PĪDAMA, aged driftwood, 29.5 “ x 13” x 8,”2020; Photo Credit Kelly Ciurej)

Mention: ecoartspace founder and curator, Patricia Lea Watts, coined the phrase “replicable social practice” in 2012 and was the lead writer for the original HighWaterLine ACTION GUIDE, co-written with Eve Mosher, offering a range of strategies for making a high water demarcation. Funded by The Compton Foundation, San Francisco.

Susan Hoffman Fishman is a painter, public artist and writer. Since 2011, her paintings and installations have focused on water and climate change. She is the co-creator of a national, interactive public art project, The Wave, which addresses our mutual need for and interdependence on water. As one of the core writers for the international blog, Artists and Climate Change, her series “Imagining Water” is published monthly.

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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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Reflecting the Social in Environmental Art: Signals of Nowadays, Museo De Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan

Signals of Nowadays on view at the Museo de Arte Puerto Rico is a striking reminder of how environmental art is deeply rooted in the social as well as the ecological. Included in the exhibition are three Puerto Rican artists who inhabit the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and who have been dramatically affected by environmental devastation on multiple fronts—through “current social, economic and ecological deterioration,” states curator Juan Carlos Lopez Quintero. Today, island residents share stories over mofongo about where they were last month when the earthquakes seemed to hit each week. While nearby in an incredible four story building with marble floors and stained glass windows, and an awe-striking sculpture garden, artists Coco Valencia, Abdiel Segarra and Vanessa Rivera were invited last fall to reflect on the effects of the global environmental crisis. 

Simulacro by Coco Valencia

Facing the viewer at the back quarter of the gallery is a collection of seemingly identical dark shapes, like a swarm of large insects hung from dark strings. These shapes create clusters surrounding a largely empty center, as if they were collectively circling a prey. This is the work of Coco Valencia entitled Simulacro that confronts the viewer with a series of derogatory phrases such as Puerca (female pig), Pata (paw), and Latrine (toilet), that are shot out of the mouths of gun-shaped skulls like flares. The skulls and flares are painted in black on cardboard and the words are fueled by fire in bright reds, oranges and yellows. This work reflects on the fiery spirits that brought a corrupt governor to his knees last summer. It is discrimination that often keeps those who are in need, in the position of submission. Simulacro speaks loudly and in combat with those systems of oppression. A stark reminder that the ecological crisis is a result of socially dysfunctional human-made systems, which have left many Puerto Ricans without aid in the face of environmental devastation. 

things about that unbreakable (and unstoppable) consumption pattern by Abdiel Segarra

In an eerie confrontation of consumer habits: on the left hand wall of the exhibition is a series of pieces entitled “things about that unbreakable (and unstoppable) consumption pattern” by Abdiel Segarra. The viewer finds a colorful array of geometric forms that reveal, upon closer inspection, that these are color-categorized materials that range from receipts to newsprint, to Adidas labels, or “material destined to be discarded,” states curator Quintero. There are undertones of constructivist and minimalist forms in this work that play against each other in an array of carefully organized consumer materials. A subtle pair of triangles together in a diamond shape have tones of grey and faded red from the receipts that they are made up of. Their organized forms reveal this perpetuating pattern of consumption that underlies the habitualized social elements of the environmental waste crisis.

detail by Abdiel Segarra

The most literal ecological work in the exhibition is that of internationally recognized mosaic artist, Vanessa Rivera. Rivera presents an installation of four hanging orbs, oracle like with dangling tentacles of cloth, including a mosaic and textile backdrop that presents a glowing blue entrance way. It’s simultaneously glistening, yet rugged, reflecting the surrounding area of the museum where new buildings are met with deterioration from environmental damage. The work resonates with the theme of groundwater, both as a lifeforce and a resource. The figures and mosaic doorway bring to question the crackled future, the elegance of the past, and the deteriorating present. In the meanwhile, people on the island are still struggling to find clean water to drink, and are told there will be more earthquakes to come over the next year or more. The new normal for the strong spirited Puerto Ricans, despite the damage in the end.  

Acuifero III by Vanessa Rivera

The exhibition [closed] February 16, 2020.

(Top photo: Interior view of Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein is a Cambridge, MA based artist/writer and ecoartspace member who recently made a visit to Puerto Rico.

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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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This Land Matters to Me – Terry Tempest Williams visits Sin City

“What I want you to know is that this land matters to me,” Terry Tempest Williams began to a packed auditorium on January 24 at the Historic Fifth Street School, open to the general public. She recounted how her early activism started in Las Vegas against the Nevada Test Site (NTS). At one point, she was protesting at the test site and was detained. An officer frisked her and removed her pen and notebook from her boot, asking what they were. “Weapons,” Terry replied. At that moment, she became a writer.

“Story is the umbilical cord between the past, present, and future.” Terry Tempest Williams
 
Today, Terry is an advocate for conservation issues across our national landscape with special emphasis on the desert southwest, which she calls home. She has written articles for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Orion, and the Los Angeles Times. Her latest book, Erosion, published in October of 2019, encompasses her love and appreciation for public lands as well as her spiritual tie to land and family. She’s currently at the Harvard Divinity School as a Writer-in-Residence.

Joshua Abbey, son of Edward Abbey

It’s been 20 years since Terry Tempest Williams visited Las Vegas. Joshua Abbey, the son of environmental writer and activist Edward Abbey, asked her to come and speak as part of the conservation events of the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival. “This is Terry’s first-ever speaking engagement in Las Vegas. We never needed her words of wisdom, more than now” stated Abbey.

Williams read from her latest book, Erosion, with a Q&A session following with fellow author Téa Obreht. She began by discussing the reduction of Utah’s Bear’s Ears National Monument by 85% in 2017, and the impact that its had on the local Native American tribes. She then answered questions from the audience. A fourteen-year-old asked her, “what can young people do to have a voice?” and Williams responded “It’s really important that we have an intergenerational conversation, that we listen to the fourteen-year-olds and that we can be there to support them in what they’re doing. I also think that they’re equipped to handle this moment. I see the young people that I’m working with as pragmatic visionaries. They’re not sentimental, they’re not soft. They haven’t been spared idealism. They see what’s happening and I have tremendous faith in them.”

Terry Tempest Williams in conversation with Téa Obreht

The next evening at the Adelson Educational Campus, Williams moderated the screening of the film Wrenched, which documents the Earth First Movement. When talking about the film, Williams said “It’s more than direct action. It’s looking at our gifts. It’s a metaphor for what each of us has to offer in this open space of democracy.” She suggests we examine how will we use our gifts to create change.

After the film, Williams discussed her decision to purchase oil and gas leases near her Utah home in protest, with no intention of exercising them. This action would later cost her job, and the leases to be revoked. She’s appealing that decision, which is currently under federal review. When asked if she could turn back time, would she do it again, knowing she would lose her job and the leases? She said without hesitation, “Yes.”

Paula Jacoby-Garrett is a freelance writer in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Top photo: Terry Tempest Williams, photographed by Joshua Abbey)

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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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Tread Boldly: Recycling Composition as Landscape

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
In any direction you choose.
– Dr. Seuss

Shoes are a necessity. We need them to go about our daily routine. Shoes enable us to explore the very landscapes we strive to preserve. Yet, they’re one of the most problematic sources of consumer waste in the world. 

Creating a single pair of running shoes generates 30 pounds of carbon dioxide. The 25 billion shoes manufactured around the world every year generate a huge greenhouse gas impact. At the end of a shoe’s life, it’s discarded, and spends over 50 years decomposing in a landfill where it will contaminate the water and soil. The midsole of a running shoe, made of ethylene vinyl acetate, takes a whopping 1,000 years to decompose.

While an increasing number of shoe companies are steering their shoe production in a more sustainable direction, there’s still a long way to go. Today there is an endless source of shoe waste available to artists to make art from. 

“The one advantage of working with waste material is – it’s everywhere.”  Meghan Price

Meghan Price is a Toronto-based multi-media artist drawn to the significance of process and materials. Meghan works with textiles, print and video, exploring time and what she refers to as human-earth interactions. In her latest series utilizing recycled athletic shoes, she sheds powerful insight into the relationship between waste, and humanity’s place in geological time through stunning low-relief landscape sculptures.

Meghan Price, New Balance 1, 2017, recycled shoes, 15 x 37 x 2 inches

Meghan’s New Balance series evokes layers of the Earth’s crust using an arts-informed inquiry into geology and the seismic impact of human consumption on our planet. “This work specifically references the Earth’s uppermost layers as they are embedded with environmental pollutants including textile materials and residues from their manufacturing,” describes Meghan. 

Meghan Price, New Balance 2, 2017, recycled shoes, 14 x 3 x 2 inches

Landscape painter Mariah Reading was inspired to change her artistic process after reflecting on the waste produced by painting the very landscapes she loved. “As artists, we throw away a lot of waste,” notes Mariah, who is also an avid outdoorswoman. She works to minimize her carbon footprint, and turns her eye to the waste left by humans in nature. When hiking, she picks up trash and paints landscapes on it. Mariah then photographs the object aligned with the physical landscape to both obscure and highlighting the discarded object. 

Single shoes are among the most commonly found waste objects that Mariah finds. “I really enjoy painting shoes because I contemplate who lived in those shoes, and the carbon footprint made by that person in their shoes,” shares Mariah. “The shoe had a life of its own before – and now again, after being discarded.”

Mariah Reading, Devils Boot, 2018, recycled steel-toed boot, acrylic paint, digital photograph

Meghan and Mariah give shoe waste a new life, inspiring the rest of us to walk in a more sustainable direction.

Meghan Price is represented by United Contemporary Gallery in Toronto.   Mariah Reading’s work can be purchased directly through her website.


Natasha Milijasevic is a Toronto and Miami-based consultant, writer and researcher. Her past research and publications span organizational psychology to patient safety to business strategy. She’s the mother of two, and an occasionally exhibiting artist.

(Top Photo: Mariah Reading, Adidas Sunset, 2018, recycled shoe, acrylic paint, digital photograph)

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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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Protest Portals for the Pacific Connector Pipeline

Located along a surveyed route for the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline, which is planned for moving fracked gas from Canada to the US Pacific Coast for export to Asia, stands three pavilions, or portals, created by environmental architect Erin Moore, from Eugene, Oregon, along with her research practice team known as FLOAT. Completed last fall 2019, these installations were sited in the landscape as a direct action in resistance to the proposed pipeline, as well as a way to provide multi-species sheltering. The works combine speculative design and habitat architecture, along with activism and ecological aesthetics.

All three portals were constructed on private land owned by community members who are vehemently against the expropriation of their land. Each site is ecologically rich including an estuary, a wetland, and a riparian zone. One of the landowners was arrested for trespassing at the Oregon State Capitol in November where protesters staged a sit-in, not something she had ever done before [more HERE]. The pipeline, if built, will run right through a completed salmon restoration on a creek adjacent to and in including her pasture. Another landowner who will lose his property due to eminent domain is the subject of a video interview online sharing the path the pipeline with take through his family land.

Haynes Inlet Portal. Photo: David Paul Bayles

“The portals visibly place something of value in the path of potential destruction,” states FLOAT. These structures also serve as a metaphor, a circular form that presents an alternative to carrying oil, offering a transformative space for both animals and humans to contemplate the fate of lands that will potentially be abused in the name of progress. Locally harvested soft rush (Juncus effuses) and tule (Schoenoplectus acutus) is thatched around the exterior of the portals, filtering rainwater and collecting moisture and nutrients that are helpful for hosting non human species.

Salmon Portal on Fate Creek, Oregon. This portal sits in the riparian zone along a restored salmon spawning bed.

From FLOAT:

The Portals are intended to transform perceptions of these places by demonstrating their value in terms of ecological holism, nutrient cycling, multi-species sheltering, and habitat biodiversity rather than in terms of extraction and profit. In this way, and as they subvert extraction-based power structures.

The Portals are intended to choreograph the human experience of time as cyclical—in weather, tides, water levels, and planetary movement, and as material decays and accumulates. In this way, the pavilions draw attention to the simultaneous ecological past and future of these lands.

The Portals are located on land that is within the traditional homelands of the Coos, Coquille and Upper Umpqua peoples who were forcibly removed from these lands by the United States government. Today, descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe.

The Portals were designed by Erin E. Moore and were constructed by members of Moore’s research practice FLOAT (Construction project management: Chris White; Fabrication and installation: Mike Kwilos (lead), Serena Lim, Andrew Loia, Zach Bradby, Molly Winter).

The Portals are located in Southern Oregon. Each are about 2 hours by car from the Eugene, Oregon airport. Hosted site visits are welcome with prior arrangement. 

Portal in Coquille River Watershed on a wetland site. The middle of three along the route of the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline.  Photo: FLOAT

(Top photo: Haynes Inlet Portal on the Coos Bay, Oregon. Finished in October 2019, at low tide dawn. David Paul Bayles.)

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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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Happy New Year! 2020

In 1997, I conceived of ecoartspace as a place where visitors could learn about the principles of ecology through immersive environments created by artists. I then published one of the first websites online with a directory of artists addressing environmental issues.  In 1999, I met Amy Lipton and we decided to join forces working from both the east and west coasts while operating under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, a 501c3 fiscal sponsor.

2019 marked 20 years that we have been curating art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. When Amy and I began doing research in the 1990s, there were not many artists yet working in and with nature. We spent many years educating curators and arts institutions on earth and ecological art from the late 1960s through the 1990s. The movement has evolved from an interest in earth as artistic medium, to working with scientists collaborating on conservation and restoration efforts, to a more DIY, in your own backyard, community arts or social practice in the 2000s.

Combined, Amy and I have curated over 80 art and ecology exhibitions, many that were outdoors collaborating with artists doing site works. We have worked with well over one thousand artists from across the country, some internationally. This past year we have spent time reflecting on the work we have completed and had conversations on how to move forward.

We are preparing to make an announcement soon and wanted to let all of our fans know today that we are not finished with this work! The start of this decade offers us renewed perspective and there are many projects that we want to continue working on including in-depth video interviews with pioneering eco artists, ACTION GUIDES presenting replicable social practice projects, and curating exhibitions.

ecoartspace wishes you all a very inspiring 2020!!!

Patricia and Amy

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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

Powered by WPeMatico