EcoArtSpace

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

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Sant Khalsa: Prana: Life with Trees

This past summer Griffith Moon Publishing in Santa Monica launched the book Sant Khalsa: Prana: Life with Trees. The subject of trees has been a focus of Khalsa’s work for nearly five decades. Included are her earliest landscapes, photographs of the Santa Ana Watershed, sculptures and installations of works inspired by her research on air quality, and documentation of her life changing experience planting more than 1,000 trees in 1992 for a reforestation project in Southern California.

The book was inspired by a series of one person exhibitions presented at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, California in 2018, titled The Forest For the Trees. Included are essays by Betty Ann Brown and Colin Westerbeck, and interview excerpts with Khalsa conducted by Patricia Watts, founder/curator of ecoartspace in 2017.

Sant Khalsa is an artist and activist. She is Professor of Art, Emerita at California State University, San Bernardino and resides in Joshua Tree.

You can purchase the book through Griffith Moon HERE or Amazon HERE.

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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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Ulrike Arnold’s Earth paintings at the Yucca Valley Arts Center

Ulrike Arnold: Cosmovisions

Yucca Valley Visual and Performing Arts Center

May 4 – July 28, 2019

Ulrike Arnold from Düsseldorf, Germany has created paintings made from soils, mud and clay, from all five continents over more than thirty years. This series from 2017 is the first time she has made paintings with soils from the Yucatán. Arnold feels it was a way for her to discover the genuine colors of the peninsular region, and what it means to put oneself in a deep relation with the Earth, a region that the Mayas’ have known and tilled for thousands of years. Arnold combines a diversity of the chromatic shades of the mud and clay, as well as meteorite dust, a material that has traveled millions of miles through space, to create her pictures that are the place.

Curated by Patricia Watts

From left to right: Monica Lynne Mahoney, Patricia Watts, and Kate Temple.

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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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Black Light Talk and Tour of Bowman exhibition on April 20th

 

On April 20th at The Landing gallery in Culver City, Patricia Watts invited astronomy curator Jay Belloli and physicist Dennis Harp to give a black light talk and tour of Richard Bowman’s fluorescent paintings of scientific imagery. The selection of twenty works were primarily from the 1970s when the artist was making his Dynamorph series. It was revealed by a family member during the talk that Bowman had indeed held a black light party of several paintings with his students in Palo Alto in the 1970s. This aspect of the work seems intriguing today, however, as a serious student from the Institute of Art in Chicago, and a Bay Area abstract painter, black lighting his work was only experienced on the down low. Many critics got that Bowman was a good painter and this his use of fluorescent pigments was not simply a gimmick, but a provocation of the deeper concepts he was exploring with regard to nuclear physics. It was a great turn out and the audience had lots of questions for Jay and Dennis as they got to know his work through the lens of science rather than art for art sake. Some people felt that they did not like looking at the paintings for very long under the black light, and that it was a relief to enjoy the paintings as they are in daylight, which also changes hues as the light changes throughout the day. Bowman felt that the fluorescent pigments emitted an actual energy, which was confirmed by Harp as fact, if only on a very low frequency. Bowman’s work is about making the invisible visible, what artists today are doing to illustrate climate science in aesthetic terms. The artist was definitely ahead of his time, and offers artists today a pioneering take on exploring the sciences through painting.

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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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Richard Bowman: Radiant Abstractions

Richard Bowman: Radiant Abstractions opened February 2nd at The Landing gallery in Culver City (Los Angeles), curated by Patricia Watts. Watts has been working with artists estates in the Bay Area since 2014 and has published a book on Bowman (1918-2001), a pioneering artist who decided in the early 1940s, while on a trip to Mexico, that he wanted to paint the elemental relationship between the earth and the cosmos. His first series, called Rock and Sun, was painted in a style inspired by Surrealist painters who resided in Mexico at the time, including Gordon Onslow Ford. He continued that series until 1950 when he became enthralled with early scientific imagery that was being published, such as cloud chamber photography visualizing the passage of ionizing radiation, and decided to combine abstract expressionism with scientific exploration. In 1973, he published an article in the MIT peer-reviewed academic journal Leonardo, describing his then twenty-three years of “Painting with fluorescent pigments of the Microcosm and Macrocosm.” He continued painting these works through the 1990s, for fifty years. Series titles included: Kinetograph, Macromicrocosmos, Kinetogenics, Environs, Dynamorph, and Synthesis. Radiant Abstractions will conclude on April 6, 2019.

Dynamorph 25, 1968,  acrylic and fluorescent acrylic on canvas,  51x 64 inches, Richard Bowman Estate

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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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Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land review in Artillery magazine

Read a review of  
Moving Off the Land
a performance by Joan Jonas 
at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture
on January 19th
by ecoartspace founder, 
Patricia Watts,  

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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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Field to Palette: Book Release

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Field to Palette: Dialogues on Soil and Art in the Anthropocene is an investigation of the cultural meanings, representations, and values of soil in a time of planetary change. The book offers critical reflections on some of the most challenging environmental problems of our time, including land take, groundwater pollution, desertification, and biodiversity loss. At the same time, the book celebrates diverse forms of resilience in the face of such challenges, beginning with its title as a way of honoring locally controlled food production methods championed by “field to plate” movements worldwide. By focusing on concepts of soil functionality, the book weaves together different disciplinary perspectives in a collection of dialogue texts between artists and scientists, interviews by the editors and invited curators, essays and poems by earth scientists and humanities scholars, soil recipes, maps, and DIY experiments. With contributions from over 100 internationally renowned researchers and practitioners, Field to Palette presents a set of visual methodologies and worldviews that expand our understanding of soil and encourage readers to develop their own interpretations of the ground beneath our feet.

Edited by Alexandra Toland, Jay Stratton Noller and Gerd Wessolek. 
Published by CRC Press

ecoartspace was invited by Alexandra Toland to contribute a piece for Field to Palette back in 2014. The book is sectioned by soil function, and included in Function 3 titled Interface: Soil as site of environmental interaction, filtration and transformation is an interview with Mel Chin by founder Patricia Watts, and NYC Director Amy Lipton. Titled Don’t Worry, It’s Only Mud, the interview includes excerpts from their discussion with Chin in 2015 in the East Village. Both Watts and Lipton have curated exhibitions of artists addressing how food is grown, distributed and consumed. Watts recently curated a public art sculpture Cloud House by Matthew Mazzotta, and curated Hybrid Fields in 2006 that included Laura Parker and Matthew Moore who are both interviewed in Field to Palette. Tattfoo Tan and his Black Gold work in Field to Palette was included in the ecoartspace SOS Action Guide in 2014. And, Lipton curated FoodSHED: Agriculture and Art in Action in 2014 including Linda Weintraub a contributor to Field to Palette, also including Tattfoo Tan. She also curated Down to Earth in 2009 and co-curated ecovention with Sue Spaid, a contributor to Field to Palette, on the exhibition ecovention in 2002.

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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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Exhibition, Gallery Route One in Point Reyes

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Contemplating Other: I know you are, You know I am

at Gallery Route One, Pointe Reyes Station, California

Exhibition runs through January 28, 2018

Includes painting, sculpture and video contemplating the human/animal relationship, while addressing confinement, wildness, and husbandry.

Alicia Escott
Linda Guenste
Brigitta Varadi

Organized and curated by Patricia Watts, founder of ecoartspace, in collaboration with Gallery Route One (GRO) in Point Reyes, California.

Our human relationship with animals has dramatically altered over time. As world populations continue to rise and as wild spaces are reduced due to human encroachments, our heightened interactions with animals expand our awareness of both ourselves and other. As individuals, our consciousness of the boundaries between humans and animals ultimately determines our own fate as a species. Having become dependent on animals for psychological and nutritional needs, human beings don’t often know where the self ends and the other begins.  

In 2015 the New Zealand government formally recognized animals as sentient beings by amending animal welfare legislation, an enlightened perspective. This amendment acknowledges that animals experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress, as humans do. Shockingly, however, the British government recently voted not to transfer parts of EU legislation into UK law, parts that recognize animals as sentient beings, a not so enlightened perspective. 



Historically, it has been posited that animals live “on the surface” and do not engage in self-reflective thought. They likely did not have the ability to process events or have memories like those of humans. Their lives were considered a series of situations, one after the other, instead of an intellectual endeavor. And, we were told, they lacked critical reflection and were not able to differentiate objects from people. These theories have been considered as facts.

The three artists in Contemplating OTHER arrive at their subject from different
perspectives and use diverse media, while they all reflect on the human-animal relationship in their art.

Alicia Escott places herself in the role of animal, physically cloaking herself in sheets of found plastics, upon which she has delicately painted wild animals. She then places herself in nature for documentation. Her work takes the form of photographs, video performances, and installations.



Linda Guenste makes vivid paintings that reflect her experiences of finding the remains of abandoned corrals scattered throughout the Great Plains states of America. There, cattle were historically rounded up in small groups and loaded onto trucks, then hauled off to slaughter. 



Brigitta Varadi works with raw sheep wool to present an aesthetic element of farming practices, in which animals are marked with color-coded paints to identify ownership. Her paintings remind us that animal husbandry links us humans with animals psychologically as well as for our dietary survival.

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

Re/Imagine: How Artists Interpret the World

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Curator Amy Lipton was invited to present on the work of ecoartspace at the The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI)  re|ACT: symposium on arts and environment March 3 & 4, 2017 at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University.

The symposium initiated the BAI and brought together cutting edge artists, curators and scholars whose work engages with the multiplicity of environments in which we live. From the natural environment to data mediascapes to sonic ecologies, re|ACT showcased the latest arts practice and research that reacts to and with the environment.

A consortium of six art departments and two affiliated programs representing the performing, visual and literary arts at Brown University, the BAI is designed to foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty, students, artists and scholars in a wide range of fields from across the campus and around the world can learn from and inspire one another.

Lipton was invited to participate on a panel titled, re|IMAGINE: How Artists Interpret the World. Visual artists and curators who respond to the world around them, whether they view environments as politicized, natural or social.

Each panelist discussed their individual practices, which had a common theme—how the making of art can be a tool for social and cultural change. David Buckland described his organization, Cape Farewell, which has sponsored expeditions involving more than 350 artists calling attention to climate change. Seitu Jones shared his public installation work in his hometown of St. Paul, MN, including The Community Meal, a mile-long, outdoor dining experience that connected over 2,000 residents through locally sourced, healthy food. Amy Lipton related how she and Patricia Watts, co- founders of the ecoartspace gallery without walls, have paired artists with scientists, engineers, architects and botanists, using “art as a pathway towards a more sustainable and resilient future.” Paul Villinski spoke of repurposing the detritus of his neighborhood into artwork evocative of flight and building a self-contained ecosystem in his studio that nurtured live butterflies, recurring imagery in his work.

Asked by moderator Anne Bergeron if artists have a responsibility to engage in political or social action, the panelists agreed that responses will vary by individual, but each must reflect on this personally. “It takes time to come to that place [of artistic activism],” said Lipton, “but it’s urgently needed.” Villinski invoked President Barack Obama: “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last to be able to do anything about it.”

“Leave your community more beautiful than you found it.” —Seitu Jones

See Panelists page for more information on the individual panelists. #BAI2017


About EcoArtSpace:

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

Care as Culture: Artists, Activists and Scientists Build Coalitions to Resist Climate Change

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On February 12, I participated as a panelist/respondent on “Care as Culture: Artists, Activists and Scientists Build Coalitions to Resist Climate Change, A Convening Around the Peace Table”. This event was held at the Queens Museum in conjunction with the exhibition Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art and took place at the large circular “Peace Table”, a centerpiece of her large retrospective exhibition. Our afternoon of discussion brought together a group of artists, activists, and scientists. One goal of the roundtable was to brainstorm methods for coalition building across these disciplines, to effectively multiply the power to confront an environmental, political, and spiritual crisis in our increasingly antagonistic time. Questions posed were;  “How can we create a broad cultural movement to combat the policies of a new administration intent on dismantling many of the safeguards that reduce the effects of climate change”? “How can successful coalitions be introduced, and the urgent ways artists can begin the process of coalition building” and “what prevents us from working together and how can we advocate for change”?

The presenters included Newton Harrison, The Natural History Museum, Natalie Jeremijenko, (absent) and Mary Mattingly. Respondents included Carol Becker, Francesco Fiondella, Allan Frei, Hope Ginsburg, Alicia Grullon, Klaus H. Jacob, Amy Lipton, Lisa Marshall, Jennifer McGregor, Aviva Rahmani, Jason Smerdon, and Marina Zurkow. Newton Harrison presented on the concepts, outcomes, and collaborations that were part of “A Vision for the Green Heart of Holland” 1995. The Harrison Studio consists of Helen Mayer Harrison (b.1929) and Newton Harrison (b.1932) who are among the earliest and the best known ecological artists. Working with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners, and other artists, the Harrison Studio initiates collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions that support biodiversity and community development.

Speaking on behalf of the collective The Natural History Museum was co-founder Beka Economopoulos. In her presentation “Tactics for the Trumpocene” she addressed the museum’s latest work to build coalitions between scientists, Indigenous communities and museum professionals. The Natural History Museum’s mission is to affirm the truth of science. The museum is a project of Not An Alternative, a collective of artists, scientists, historians, theorists, and activists. Launched in 2014, The Natural History Museum is a mobile and pop-up museum that offers exhibitions, expeditions, educational workshops, and public programming. Unlike traditional natural history museums, it makes a point to include and highlight the socio-political forces that shape nature.

Artist Mary Mattingly presented “Swale”, an experiential public space and artwork on New York’s waterways that provides access to free food through perennial urban agriculture along with coalition members Lindsay Campbell, Dariella Rodriguez, Bram Gunther (Co-Director of the NYC Urban Field Station), and docents from the Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice: Brandon Kane and Anthony Lespier. Mattingly is an artist who takes societal consumption and ecological crisis as points of inquiry. Working with community members ranging from scientists to engineers, students, and neighbors, she co-creates sculptural ecosystems in urban spaces. Mattingly is engaged in questions about how art can influence policy and strengthen the commons.

 

Panelist/Respondents included Carol Becker, Professor of the Arts and Dean of Faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts; Francesco Fiondella from the International Research institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University’s Earth Institute; Allan Frei, climatologist and Deputy Director of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities; Hope Ginsburg, artist; Alicia Grullon, artist and founder of Percent for Green, Bronx, NY; Klaus H. Jacob, geophysicist and Professor of Environmental Science at Barnard College; Amy Lipton, Director/Curator at ecoartspace; Lisa Marshall, community organizer for Mothers Out Front, NY; Jennifer McGregor, Director of Arts and Senior Curator at Wave Hill, Bronx, NY; Aviva Rahmani, artist and visiting professor at Stony Brook University, NY; Jason Smerdon, Associate Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and Marina Zurkow, media artist and faculty member at ITP/Tisch School of the Arts.

The convening took place over the course of 3 plus hours and gave time after the presenters for respondents to speak, address the posed questions and add to those questions. It was a day where dire concerns for the future were expressed, while simultaneously the uplifting wit, energy, knowledge and spirit of the participants proved to be an affirmation of like-mindedness and shared ideas towards coalition building, which had been expressed as a goal of the gathering. Having participated on many such panels, my hope is for continued dialogue. The group resolved to stay in communication beyond the event.

Amy Lipton


About EcoArtSpace:

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